Manipulated Kate Middleton Photo Sparks Royal Frenzy Of Jokes And Memes
2 mins read

Manipulated Kate Middleton Photo Sparks Royal Frenzy Of Jokes And Memes

The Royal Family photo that started it all.

Kensington Palace/Twitter

Most of us post a Photoshopped image and go about our day. Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, posts an altered picture and finds herself at the center of endless speculation and conspiracy theories. Is William not pictured because he’s no longer in the marriage picture? Is Middleton’s recovery from unspecified abdominal surgery not going as well as Kensington Palace has said? Has some sinister mystery enveloped the Royal Family?

Whatever the answers to the questions dogging the Royal Family like a bunch of corgis trailing the late queen, the internet is loving the drama.

“I’m not generally into conspiracy theories but this Kate Middleton photo has got me feeling like a flat-Earther,” wrote one user of X, formerly known as Twitter.

The brouhaha follows Middleton’s admission Monday that she did a bit of nipping and tucking to a picture of her and three kids posted to official royal social media accounts on Sunday to mark Mother’s Day in the U.K., and presumably assure the world she’s doing okay post-op. Hours after Kensington Palace posted the photo, news agencies including Reuters and the Associated Press released advisories cautioning media outlets not to use the image because it had been manipulated.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” Middleton said in an apology posted Monday that the social media masses doubt she actually wrote. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

The photo’s oddities include inconsistencies in the alignment of body parts and a couple of clothing glitches. While the average viewer might not notice such anomalies, plenty of Internet sleuths have become highly attuned to identifying fake images or images altered by AI.

While many responded to the original photo, and the apology, by wishing Middleton well in her recovery, others have been enjoying taking the manipulated photo way further. Amusing posts include versions of the photo with moving heads and superimposed faces and AI versions that turn Middleton into a cartoon character.

Some are having trouble believing Middleton was actually the one who altered the photo—“imagine Kate Middleton hunched over photoshop lol,” one person wrote on Twitter. Others people are are imagining the madness behind the scenes at Netflix drama The Crown as the team scurries to keep up with the latest in a long line of royal dramas.