Catherine, Princess of Wales: Brouhaha about Kate’s Mother’s Day photo is a fuss over nothing - Christa Ackroyd

Last weekend I took several photographs on my phone, as I am wont to do.

One was at a fabulous party organised for the significant birthday of a lovely friend whom I have known for years. We looked happy. Dare I say it, we looked glamorous, having dressed up to the nines on one of those rare occasions these days that warranted best bib and tucker.

But the lighting wasn’t great. Without a second thought I went into the tools on my phone and brightened it up. We both agreed it was a photograph we will treasure. The day before, on International Women’s Day, a very small group of us had got together for lunch to celebrate the bond between us and make plans for the future. We took photos and before sending them round we made sure we were all happy with them, easier said than done with a group of women. We eventually found one we all liked.

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I have to admit I added a filter too. Not one of those silly unrealistic doesn’t look like you filters, but one that slightly softened the focus. Why? Because it looked better. And because we can. On a wonderful Mother’s Day at my daughter’s house I arrived to be summoned by two extremely excited grandchildren to trek down the field to see the first baby lamb of spring from their much loved flock of Ryedale sheep.

Catherine, Princess of WalesCatherine, Princess of Wales
Catherine, Princess of Wales

In order not to frighten Lily Lamb, as she is now known, I zoomed in on my mobile, placed the two little girls at a distance and recorded the happy scene. But they were not as the photograph suggested stood alongside the ewe and her newborn for obvious reasons. It was simply a little photographic trickery to capture the scene without causing distress for the subject.

So here we are. Three photographs taken in three days that were slightly altered, a little enhanced or strategically angled that changed not the subject, not the reason for taking the photograph in the first place, but just made them better. Because technology allowed me to do so. It’s hardly a rare occurrence and definitely not a treasonable offence.

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Mother’s Day was a joyous affair. Having handed out their home made cards which I have to say contained rather flattering drawings of us all, the girls went out in the rain into the garden and picked daffodils and early spring blossom for their mummy, for me and for for their other grandmother which they arranged in three lovely bunches.

We caught the train to Saltaire and wandered around one of our favourite haunts before returning to a sumptuous meal and a table decorated with wands and flowered headbands and sparkles because that is what two little girls do. We ate our perfectly cooked dinner before instructing the men in the house to turn off the sport and let us watch a girlie film together because it was Mother’s Day.

They were surprisingly compliant. All in all the perfect day.

And so as I prepared to go to bed I did what I always do and opened my phone to check on the news of the day. And there it was. The biggest outpouring of nonsense about a photograph of another family celebrating Mother’s Day from the Princess of Wales surrounded by her three children with the sentiment expressed to all mums everywhere that they hoped we had had a good day too.

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But no that wasn’t good enough. The photograph, screamed the headlines, had been digitally changed here, altered there, and shock of all shocks Kate wasn’t even wearing her wedding ring. The inference was clear. This photograph was fake. And therefore shouldn’t be trusted .

One by one news and photographic agencies took the moral high ground and grandly announced they would be removing the offending photograph from their press offerings. As if somehow they were protecting us, the general public, from the indignity of having to look at something which wasn’t all it seemed.

Well how two faced they all are? Apparently the image was retracted by one agency because ‘the source had manipulated the image in a way that did not meet.. photo standards’. Another said ‘it has come to light that the handout issued by Kensington Palace of Kate and the kids had been altered therefore it was withdrawn.’

While Getty Images, the largest holder of photographs the world over, identified the photo as being a ‘problematic image’. I have never heard such clap trap in my life.

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What was issued was a photograph on Mother’s Day of the Princess of Wales surrounded by her children, George, Charlotte and Louis. The following day she was forced to ‘confess’ that as an amateur photographer she had played around with the said photograph slightly.

As I had done the same weekend in three different circumstances. So am I a liar? Is the Princess of Wales seeking to hide the truth? Should she have been forced to apologise ‘for any confusion caused’ ? As she did. Of course she should not.

The truth of the matter has of course nothing to do with a photograph. It is that this is the first official photograph since Kate underwent major abdominal surgery before Christmas when it was made quite clear it was so significant that the Princess would not be available for Royal duties until after Easter.

In my book the decision made not to give more details as to the exact nature of her problems was entirely hers to make and not ours to demand. But that was not good enough for some members of the press. They wanted more than she was prepared to give.

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And so the final touch to a host of largely unspoken conspiracy theories was to delete a photograph that was exactly all it seemed, a picture of a mum on Mother’s Day and a rather sweet photograph at that.

Somehow something issued with the best of intentions was turned into a detailed and somewhat pious analysis that ended with the conclusion we were not being told the full facts, therefore it had to go, which is pretty rich coming from press agencies which must have on their files millions of digitally touched up altered images of the rich and famous which are regurgitated to make them money.

What of course is so appallingly awful is that Kate has obviously been through a pretty traumatic and difficult time. She thought she was doing the right thing in issuing a little photograph where she didn’t blur out the lines on her face, enhance her figure or even add soft lighting or an unnatural rosy glow. She looked like Kate.

And it was good to see. And if we the press or the public in general believe we have recorded some moral victory in forcing her to apologise we are sadly mistaken. I have said it before and I will say it again. Yes the Royal family exists to fulfil a role.

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Yes, they rely on the goodwill of the country to survive. But they are not puppets they are people.

To all Mum’s everywhere I hope you had a wonderful day. To one in particular I hope ma’am you did too and are now well on the road to recovery. And that is all anyone needed to say.

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