The altering of Kate's photo could actually be a good thing.

The Kate Middleton photo saga has deepened, with Instagram now taking a stand on the matter. 

Kate posted the infamous family portrait image to her social media, and later had to release a statement acknowledging it was edited, following intense speculation.

But just when we thought the story had finally died down... it's reignited.

Today, Instagram has added a tag across the image on Prince William and Princess Kate's Instagram, the message below the photo now reading in red text: "Altered photo/video. The same altered photo was reviewed by independent fact-checkers in another post."

A click on an arrow leads to another message that reads: "The same altered photo was reviewed in another post by fact-checkers. There may be small differences. Independent fact-checkers say the photo or image has been edited in a way that could mislead people, but not because it was shown out of context." 

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Video via Netflix.

It's a monumental move from Instagram and the tech company behind it, Meta.

In fact, some digital experts and commentators feel Instagram's decision to flag the image as edited could actually be a good thing for the future of social media. 


This is certainly not a new policy from Instagram though. The app started fact-checking photos and flagging those deemed false back in 2020, with disclaimers added to certain posts. Meta said at the time: "We don't hide content because it's photoshopped, we apply a label when a fact-checker has rated it."

This doesn't happen often — imagine every single edited photo on Instagram having this tag, given the sheer amount of filters and FaceTune so many users implement. Rather, this strategy is typically applied to posts that have garnered a large number of views and engagement, as that post's influence is therefore higher, so it's more important to know whether it's edited or false.

According to Instagram, the app determines the authenticity of an image using "a combination of feedback from our community and technology". The photo is then passed on to third-party independent fact-checkers. If the image is deemed fake, the 'False Information' warning message will be placed on the image. 

It's hard to believe this whole saga has been going for just short of a week, since Kate posted the image to Instagram. 

"Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months," she wrote on Instagram underneath a photo of herself and her three children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five. 

"Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day."


Days later she then issued a statement apologising for "any confusion" over the photo, which she said was taken by her husband, Prince William.

"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. 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," she said.

Her statement came amid a wave of speculation around the validity of the portrait — with fans noticing everything from Kate's missing wedding ring (which once belonged to Princess Diana), to Charlotte's mysteriously disjointed sleeve and Prince Louis' 'short' index finger.


Following on from the bizarre photoshop rumours, four of the largest photo agencies in the world ended up deleting the image, including AAP, Reuters, AFP and Getty Images.

A 'kill notice' from the Associated Press read: "At closer inspection, it appears that the source has manipulated the image."

It follows months of speculation about the whereabouts of Kate.

In January, it was announced Kate would be spending two weeks in the London Clinic hospital to recover from "planned abdominal surgery", and that she will not be making any public appearances until after Easter.

However, the mystery surrounding her whereabouts resulted in some wild conspiracy theories, with the royal family going on to address speculation in a statement.

"We were very clear from the outset that the Princess of Wales was out until after Easter and Kensington Palace would only be providing updates when something was significant. That guideline stands," a spokesperson said, reiterating that Kate was "doing well."

The annual royal Christmas card also faced Photoshop rumours, after it after it was spotted that Prince Louis had no middle finger. Kensington Palace refused to comment as to whether the image had been altered. 

Feature Image: Instagram/Canva.