Princess Kate’s doctored picture isn’t new – just look at Henry VIII

Estimated read time 4 min read

Article content

This week, news agencies and royal watchers were in a tizzy after a picture of Kate, the Princess of Wales, surrounded by her three children was discovered to have been manipulated before it was released to the world.

Media outlets were the first to raise the alarm after noticing small discrepancies in the clothing and hair of the Princess and her children. A day later, Kate took to social media to confess that she was to blame.

Article content

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” she said. “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused.”

She added: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months.”

Kate has been largely out of the public eye since abdominal surgery in January, and the photo did nothing to quell rumour, speculation and even conspiracy theories over the state of her health.

Kate Middleton
A combination of pictures made on March 11 shows a handout photo released by Kensington Palace of the Princess of Wales with her children, alongside a version highlighting several inconsistencies in alignments. Photo by PRINCE OF WALES /KENSINGTON PALACE/AFP via Getty

But manipulation of royal images is nothing new. Another Princess of Wales, Diana, was often photographed alongside her husband, Charles, then Prince of Wales and now King Charles III.

Despite the fact that both Charles and Diana stood about five-foot-ten, many photos – including official engagement and wedding portraits – show the future king half a head taller than his bride, as they appear from the waist up or with Diana seated. (Queen Camilla, Charles’ second wife, is a good inch shorter than her husband.)

The first monarch to be photographed was Queen Victoria, in the 1840s. The earliest images were originally intended only for viewing by the royal family and their immediate circle. However, in 1860 the Queen allowed a series of portraits of herself and her husband, Prince Albert, to be published. They proved popular with the public.

Article content

Recommended from Editorial

Albert died the following year, and in 1863 there appeared a photograph of Victoria, still in mourning, astride her pony Fyvie, and attended by two servants, John Brown and John Grant.

The original has a certain symmetry, with one man to either side of the Queen, but the photographer, George Washington Wilson, later cropped Grant out of the image and rereleased it as what was known as a carte de visite, a kind of collectible. The pairing of the Queen and Brown no doubt helped spur rumours that they were more than just good friends. (Some even referred to Victoria as “Mrs. Brown.”)

Of course, one doesn’t need photography to have altered images. Historians have noted that the official portrait of King Henry VIII, painted by Hans Holbein the Younger in the 1530s, shows the King as younger and healthier than he would have been at the time. He’s also taller – comparisons to his surviving armour show that his legs were shorter in real life than in the image.

Henry VIII
A woman stands in front of a portrait of Henry VIII at the Tate Britain. Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty

And whether true to life or propagandized, images of royals continue to create fascination with the public. They don’t even have to be new. Last year, it was announced that “never-before-seen” photos of future kings Edward VIII and George VI when they were boys were being sold at auction.

They had been taken by Dr. Frederick Jackson when he was Doctor in Residence at the Royal country retreat of Sandringham, in Norfolk, between 1904 and 1906. A handful of photos show the young brothers, then about nine and 11 years old, golfing, fishing, skating and shooting together.

The images had been kept by the doctor’s family, alongside handwritten notes from the future monarchs. The collection sold for a tidy £1,785 (about $3,000) at auction; not bad for a box of old summer holiday snaps.

Share this article in your social network

#Princess #Kates #doctored #picture #isnt #Henry #VIII

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours