Kate Middleton’s ‘blunder’ after Mother’s Day Photoshop saga ‘went against’ late Queen’s tradition

By Staff


The Princess of Wales was forced to apologise over her Photoshop skills after a badly edited photograph of Kate and the three children was killed by photo agencies

While her Mother’s Day message went down like a lead balloon, it was her grovelling response that followed which wasn’t a good look for Kate, according to a PR expert.

The Princess of Wales released a family photograph online of her three children huddled around her to mark the celebration, and in an accompanying note, Kate thanked the public for their “kind wishes and continued support over the last two months” and wished people a Happy Mother’s Day. She signed off with the initial C, for Catherine.

But glaring editing mistakes were soon spotted, with the photo killed by photo agencies including Reuters, AP, Getty and AFP over the manipulation. PR and crisis management expert Edward Coram-James, chief executive of Go Up, has argued that whilst the Princess of Wales has ‘nailed’ her response to the public outcry of her whereabouts since her ‘successful’ surgery in January, her apology that followed the Photoshop saga has been her downfall.

He believes Kate made a rookie mistake in response to the public frenzy, and one that would go against the late Queen Elizabeth’s publicity strategy. Edward highlights that most photographs released online are heavily edited, either airbrushed or with filters, and he reckons the mum-of-three should have left the editing to professionals as the fiasco added more fuel to the fire.

Rumours swirled that her face had been cut from a former Vogue magazine cover shoot, and that her face was edited onto the body of their nanny. After the photo was pulled, Kate said in a statement: “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. C.”

Criticising the move, Edward said she should have taken a leaf out of the late Queen’s book and remained silent. He told the Mirror: “I fault neither the Princes of Wales, nor any of her team, for doing a bit of editing to a photo that they knew would be seen by millions of people. The only remarkable thing about that photograph was that it garnered so much scrutiny.

“The only pertinent response, that can cool the flames, is no response. My one critique of the Princess’ PR or crisis communications strategy to date is that she gave gravity to such criticisms by responding to them in her subsequent statement.

“My advice to the Princess: the late Queen had it right. ‘Never complain. Never explain.’ You’re just about the only family in the world that is able to stand by that principle so diligently. So, stand by it. Panic breeds panic. And explaining, however well-intentioned that may be, often comes across as panic. So, stick to the script. You told the world that you would not be commenting until after Easter.”

The expert reiterated this strict policy when comparing Kate’s response to her PR crisis in the aftermath of her absence to that of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have been dividing fans with their choices since stepping down from royal life in Britain. He said that when the royal family stray from their time-tested mantra ‘Never complain. Never explain’, “all hell breaks loose.”

Nodding to the Duke of York’s disastrous interview with Emily Maitlis, and Harry and Meghan’s bombshell chat with Opera Winfrey, Edward said: “When things do go off script, it usually ends very badly for the royals that deviate”.

Commenting on the communication surrounding the two estranged brothers, William and Harry, and their wives, he offers a scathing review of the Sussexes’ strategy. “From a PR point of view, the Princess of Wales is nailing it,” Edward asserted.

“Nothing gives credibility to conspiracy theories more than reacting to them and nothing frustrates people more than over-communicating. It’s one of the great lessons that should have been taken from the PR problems faced by the Sussexes in the past few years.

“One of the stunning differences between the Wales’ PR strategy versus the Sussexes is that Kate and William have worked out the importance of proper expectation management. By combining good, clear expectation setting that neither over nor underpromises, and then living out and adhering to the timeline that they have clearly laid out with no further fuss or comment, they get huge media attention, often with very little effort.

“Whereas the Sussexes, by not properly setting expectations, instead so often make a lot of noise and then over promise, and arguably not deliver. They exhaust themselves, and, arguably, the readers/viewers, and get very little positive press in return. In this case, Kate tells the world that she’s going off grid for three/four months, and that they won’t hear from her in that time.

“She then goes off-grid and people don’t hear from her. People decide that, actually, they quite want to hear from her and start to panic. The Princess of Wales, as usual, remains above the fray and stays true to her word. Then, by April, in all likelihood she’ll return to the public eye with no great fanfare, and with nothing more than a ‘well that was a whole load of fuss over nothing’ glimmer in her eye.”

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