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Kate Middleton's Mother's Day Photo Isn't the Only Recent Family Snap Accused of Photoshop

The Prince and Princess of Wales had another image scrutinized for editing just months ago

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Kate Middleton's official Mother's Day photo is the second image to spark speculation of editing in the last few months.

The Princess of Wales, 42, shared an apology to social media on Monday for "any confusion" around the Mothering Sunday snap released over the weekend after multiple global photo agencies pulled the picture due to suspicions of manipulation.

Chatter of photo editing also erupted after Princess Kate and Prince William shared their Christmas card with their kids, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, as social media users spotted some oddities.

The Prince and Princess of Wales tapped photographer Josh Skinner for the black and white portrait, which marked the family's return to the studio style for the first time since 2017. Prince William and Princess Kate had previously released colorful pictures taken outdoors for the Christmas season since Prince Louis’ holiday card debut as a baby. In December 2023, the family’s matching moment in white button-down shirts and dark pants didn’t deter royal watchers from shouting out discrepancies in the studio shot.

"Where’s William’s thigh? Where’s Kate’s other foot?" one user wondered on X, pointing to the way that the Prince and Princess of Wales stood. Others said it looked like Prince Louis had six fingers, while others argued that the little prince simply had his hand bent amid talk about Photoshop.

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall in Sandringham on Dec. 25, 2023.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Prince William, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall in Sandringham on Dec. 25, 2023.

Related: Kate Middleton Seen Leaving Windsor with Prince William for Private Appointment After Issuing Photo Apology

The speculation came and went, and Prince William and Princess Kate even released a second, surprise outtake from their photo session with Skinner on Christmas. The photo showed Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George sitting and smiling on a bench, as Charlotte wrapped an arm around each of her brothers.

"Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!" Prince William and Princess Kate wrote below the photo on social media. The couple signed the note as "W & C" for the initials of their first names, signaling that the message came from them personally.

While the Prince and Princess of Wales have tapped professional photographers for their Christmas cards, Princess Kate is known to pursue her passion for photography by hopping behind the camera for her children’s birthdays and milestone moments like starting school. The Princess of Wales, who has described herself as an "enthusiastic amateur photographer" and serves as patron of the Royal Photographic Society, most recently took an official portrait released for Princess Charlotte’s 8th birthday in May 2023 showing the young royal laughing in a wicker chair.

<p>Karwai Tang/WireImage</p> Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte watch the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in July 2023.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte watch the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in July 2023.

Related: Kate Middleton's Photo Controversy Is 'Pretty Damning,' Says U.K. PR Expert (Exclusive)

Princess Kate, however, did not take the official pictures released for Prince Louis’ 5th birthday last April or Prince George’s milestone 10th birthday last July. Louis’ latest birthday pictures were by photographer Millie Pilkington, whom Prince William and Princess Kate turned to again for George’s birthday photos.

On Monday, the Princess of Wales released an apology around the Mother’s Day photo published the day before. The picture was credited to Prince William and taken last week in Windsor, where the Wales family lives. The photo showed Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte lovingly around their mother, who was seated in a chair. The Princess of Wales had an arm around Louis and Charlotte, while George leaned from above to give her a hug.

The picture was significant as the first released of Princess Kate following her abdominal surgery on Jan. 16, but trouble erupted after esteemed photo agencies pulled the image.

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

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Responding to the controversy, Princess Kate said, "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day," the Princess of Wales wrote in a post shared on social media around 10:30 a.m. local time on Monday, signed "C."

A palace insider downplayed the PR crisis, telling PEOPLE exclusively the situation is a "bump in the road, it's not an earthquake."

"[Kate] has apologized and graciously so," the insider says. "She has done something that 99% of us do — and we don’t have the scrutiny that they do."

"Think of the level of scrutiny of pictures of her, as people pore over them," the insider says. "You’re always on display and always got to be perfect."

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