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Princess Catherine on Instagram

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.” Well, I can’t resist the kerfuffle around what’s going on with Princess Catherine. Yesterday she posted a photo of herself with her family that turned out to have been edited, and today she apologized for “any confusion” it might have caused. (Shared presumably in part to dispel rumors about her health and whereabouts, the photo “fans [those rumors] instead,” per the NY Times.)

Last week, Nieman Lab ran a story on how unusual the Palace’s response to gossip surrounding the situation has been. And if you really want to get into the weeds, Nieman Lab’s editor-in-chief Laura Hazard Owen also just linked to a three-minute TikTok video proposing that the original Instagram photo was actually taken last November.

See also Hilary Mantel’s 2013 essay in the London Review of Books: “I wanted to apologise. I wanted to say: it’s nothing personal, it’s monarchy I’m staring at.”

Discussion  13 comments

Edith ZimmermanMOD
Jason KottkeMOD

Breaking news, must credit Edith Zimmerman!

Edith ZimmermanMOD

It's weird they don't????

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Samantha Bloom

I do think it's very likely that the photo was from November, but I also don't think that's weird - I don't think there's any expectation not to post an older photo, or even an edited photo, in the current social media sphere (although in her current circumstances it does seem ill advised - she should have just labeled it as a photo from last year!)

I'm also morbidly curious about this. Especially after Covid shutdowns, I can't imagine choosing to take a three month blackout/break from daily life. I suppose she must really, really need it. So, good for her.

Edith ZimmermanMOD

It all seems reasonable except that they said that the photo was taken by Prince William in 2024! (“📸 The Prince of Wales, 2024”)

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Alana Cloutier

The truly bungled PR responses around everything to do with her "disappearance" and William's last minute cancellation of a reading at his godfather's funeral (a last minute cancellation is something the previous generation of royals would never do, so it's notable) and whatever is going on with him, has been fascinating to watch. Besides cutting ribbons, PR and well timed photo ops are the royal family's actual job.

Tracy M

Between reviewing all the Oscar's fashion and now this Royals photoshop bonanza, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to get any work done today.

Edith ZimmermanMOD

Ok Nieman Lab is obviously my preferred resource for this topic. I also enjoyed their latest:

Meg Hourihan

The thing that struck me with the photo (who knew I even cared?!!) was that she was seated. It made me think maybe she wasn't well enough for a standing or "action" family photo.

Jason KottkeMOD

Helen Lewis, QAnon for Wine Moms:

Does this matter? Well, if you're the Princess of Wales or her family, it does. A request for privacy has morphed into a giant online game designed to invade it. But the story is also remarkable for the insight it gives us into the challenges facing traditional media. Trust is low, gatekeeping is impossible, and even people who probably once deplored tabloid intrusion into royal affairs and eating disorders are now firing up TikTok and getting sucked into a nine-part video series about the opacity of Princess Charlotte's sleeve. This is QAnon for wine moms. And the dynamics behind it are not going away.

Kelsey P.

This whole situation and the above quote reminds me of that wonderful profile of Tom Cruise, by Caity Weaver, which I was certain came to me via But a quick google showed me that I’d need other search terms and success was only achieved with “tom cruise profile lives in england private helicopter can’t meet him for an interview,” in case that whets an appetite.

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Atanas Entchev

Note that in the apology post, "C" does not actually state that they edited the photo.

Jason KottkeMOD

Catherine announced that she's undergoing treatment for cancer — we wish her a speedy recovery.

As for all the speculation, I agree with Michael Hobbes:

The existence of the royal family is indefensible and Kate is one of the few members who chose to join it willingly but no one had to spend months writing fan fiction about what was "really" going on. Botching the announcement of a cancer diagnosis is less gross to me than the people demanding one.

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