Elements of photo editing by royals ‘have been going on for years’, snapper says

By Staff

The royal family have been taking images and changing them like Kate Middleton did for years and even the late Queen carried a camera in her handbag where she captured images of visiting VIPs

A royal photographer has insisted elements of photo editing by royals “have been going on for years”.

The royal family has a long history of taking snaps of themselves. Lord Lichfield and Lord Snowdon were associated with in-house royal photography but even the late Queen used to carry a camera in her handbag. And in his book What’s In The Queen’s Handbag, Philip Dampier said she would use it “to take pictures of visiting presidents and other VIPs”.

Prince Andrew created a book of photographs in 1985 and a picture of Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother at the Castle of Mey became her annual Christmas card.

Most recently, picture agencies decided a “kill notice” was necessary because of the Mothering Sunday photograph which was edited by Princess Kate, but also shows that the royals have always taken some control of their images.

One royal photographer told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s always tempting to play around with Photoshop, but the rule of thumb is that you can do what you used to do in an old dark room – so adjust the light and shading, and obviously crop the image – but everything else is a no-no.

“The truth is that the royals have got form when it comes to manipulating their own pictures. I remember being quite suspicious of some images taken by Kate’s father, Michael Middleton. There was obvious blurring movement and darkening. Elements of it have been going on for years.”

Eric Baradat, a photo director at Agence France-Presse (AFP) who looks at thousands of images a day as part of his job said Kate’s efforts were “really amateur, adding that “no single image can be trusted”.

Martin Keene, a former group picture editor at the Press Association said: “All picture agencies have truth and accuracy [in] their DNA – it’s something that really matters to them.” Phil Chetwynd, the global news director of AFP, said it was normally photographs from the North Korean news agency or the Iranian news agency which were “killed” because they had been manipulated.

Many of the changes in royal images happened because William and Harry wanted to control the images of their own children, it has been said. This also happened because of the paparazzi chasing Princess Diana around and all royal photographers were wrongly seen in the same light.

Kate did apologise for changing images saying: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.” This has led to past images being looked at again including Prince Archie’s official christening picture. Getty said the portrait had been “digitally enhanced”, a claim which the photographer Chris Allerton described as “a load of cobblers”.

Picture agency Getty has since removed the editor’s note it had added to the image.

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