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Kate Middleton Apologizes for 'Confusion' Over Family Photo That Caused Controversy

The Princess of Wales released a photograph on Sunday which picture agencies later recalled over claims it had been altered

<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 is apologizing for editing a family photo that was pulled by multiple news agencies.

On Monday, the Princess of Wales said she was sorry for what she called “any confusion” over the picture, which was taken by her husband Prince William and released on Sunday to mark Mother's Day in the U.K.

Around 10:30 a.m. U.K. time on Monday, Kate wrote on X (formerly Twitter), "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."

Her apology on social media, which was signed with a “C” for Catherine, followed prominent picture agencies like AP and Reuters withdrawing the image citing claims of manipulation.

A source told PEOPLE that Kate made what they called “minor adjustments” to the “amateur, family photograph taken by the Prince of Wales.”

Kate and William's motivation was “to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day," the source adds. “The family spent Mother’s Day together and had a wonderful day.”

Related: Kate Middleton Speaks Out for First Time amid Surgery Recovery in Personal Message

The palace would not be drawn on what part of the photograph was altered. When AP issued a “kill notification” — writing in an alert to journalists that after “closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image" — most attention focused on Princess Charlotte's left hand.

Others have highlighted inconsistencies in the alignment of the sweater pattern on Prince Louis' shoulder, as well as a jagged white line in the background near his knee.

The photograph of the Princess of Wales and her children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, was supposed to both thank well-wishers for their support during her recovery and reassure people about her ongoing recovery after a slew of social media-fueled conspiracy theories about her.

But, instead, by the end of the day, it had started a storm of social media queries, and legitimate questions by picture editors. The photograph was then later removed from the libraries of leading photo agencies who suggested it had been altered, principally around Charlotte’s hand.

<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

Related: Kate Middleton and Prince William Celebrate International Women’s Day with Special Throwback Photos

It was the first official photograph of Kate, 42, since her abdominal surgery of January 16.

The princess had not been seen officially in public since Christmas Day but was photographed unofficially in a car being driven by her mother Carole Middleton last week.

Usually, it is Kate who takes the family photographs but, for the first time, it was William, 41, who shot the image. It was taken at Windsor, where the family lives, last week.

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Kate Middleton and Prince William

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Kate Middleton and Prince William

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An AP spokesperson released a statement to The Telegraph saying, "The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand."

Later on Monday, William is set to step out at Westminster Abbey for the annual Commonwealth Day service. His father King Charles, who will not be at the annual service due to his ongoing cancer treatment, will be represented by his wife Queen Camilla.

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