AFP News Director Says Kate Middleton Photo ‘Violated’ Guidelines

AFP News Director Says Kate Middleton Photo ‘Violated’ Guidelines

Kate Middleton with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Prince of Wales/Kensington Palace / MEGA

Princess Kate Middleton‘s edited Mother’s Day photo has marred Kensington Palace’s credibility with one major international news outlet.

During a recent appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Media Show, Phil Chetwynd, the global news director of Agence France-Presse (AFP), claimed the palace is “absolutely not” considered a “trusted source” following the photo scandal.

Chetwynd revealed that the agency has reviewed its relationship with Prince William and Kate, 42, per Deadline. He explained that the photo raised “major issues” and should not have been approved to use because it “violated” the outlet’s guidelines.

“Like with anything, when you’re let down by a source the bar is raised … We sent out notes to all our teams at the moment to be absolutely super more vigilant about the content coming across our desk — even from what we would call trusted sources,” Chetwynd continued.

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According to Chetwynd, Kensington Palace did not respond when asked by AFP and other organizations that issued “kill” notices, including Reuters and the Associated Press, to provide the original image. Ordering a photo to be taken down is not a common practice, Chetwynd added.

“To kill something on the basis of manipulation [is rare],” he explained, noting that it happens “once a year maybe, I hope less.”

Chetwynd emphasized that being able to trust a powerful source like the royal family is “really important,” adding, “You cannot be distorting reality for the public. There’s a question of trust. And the big issue here is one of trust, and the lack of trust and the falling trust of the general public in institutions generally and in the media. And so it’s extremely important that a photo does represent broadly the reality that it’s seen in.”

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A photo of Kate with her and William’s three children — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5 — was uploaded via social media on Sunday, March 10, in honor of Mother’s Day. It marked the first official image shared of Kate since her abdominal surgery in January, which has sidelined her from royal engagements. (The palace previously announced that Kate will be out of commission until Easter.)

Suspicions were quickly raised about the photo as social media users noticed Kate was not wearing her wedding ring. Other inconsistencies were supposedly apparent in the kids’ clothing.

Kate addressed the controversy in a statement shared via X one day later. “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” she wrote. “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.”

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Few details have been revealed about Kate’s surgery, leading to widespread conspiracies about her wellbeing. Prior to her operation, the princess was last seen in December 2023. She has since been photographed on two occasions, both times sitting in a car.

“Whatever the reason for the operation was, it’s of a personal nature, and Kate wants to keep the details as private as possible,” a source exclusively revealed in the latest issue of Us Weekly, noting that even some family members don’t have all the information. “Perhaps when she’s feeling up to it, she may reveal more, but she’s not making any promises.”

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