The princess and the pictures – podcast | News

The release of a posed family photo of the Princess of Wales with her children on Mother’s Day would usually be fairly unremarkable. Not this year. On Sunday, the picture was the first officially released since Catherine was admitted to hospital in January for surgery and followed a long period of silence as she recuperated. Instantly, online sleuths pored over the picture for clues that all was not what it seemed.

As the Guardian’s Archie Bland tells Hannah Moore, the more people examined the picture, the more they found oddities. Part of a sleeve was missing, there were unexplained blurs, a zip misaligned. By Sunday night the evidence that the photo had been manipulated was so clear that the photo agencies that had released it to their media clients abruptly issued a “kill notice”. This initiated a further frenzy as conspiracy theories swirled in the absence of an official explanation. On Monday, Kensington Palace issued a statement from Catherine in which she apologised, saying that “like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing”.

The episode has been a lesson in transparency for the palace and has highlighted the new media landscape the royals now operate in. But does it also reveal something unsettling about the speed in which conspiracy theories can take off in the absence of trust – and our own desire to know the most personal details about people we have never met?

British newspapers feature news regarding image of Princess of Wales

Photograph: David Cliff/EPA

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