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Kate Middleton and Kids Had a 'Wonderful' Mother's Day Despite Photo Controversy

The Princess of Wales apologized on Monday for "any confusion" about the picture with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton and her three children (L-R): Princes Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Despite controversy, Kate Middleton had a lovely Mother’s Day with her family.

To celebrate Mothering Sunday in the U.K., the Princess of Wales starred in a photo with her children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, that was taken by her husband, Prince William. The image was significant as the first official picture of Princess Kate since her abdominal surgery on Jan. 16.

The Prince and Princess of Wales wanted “to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day," a source tells PEOPLE.

The source said that Princess Kate, 42, made what they called “minor adjustments” to the “amateur, family photograph taken by the Prince of Wales,” which later prompted an apology from Kate over suspicions of manipulation.

Regardless, the source says, "The family spent Mother's Day together and had a wonderful day."

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Related: Kate Middleton Apologizes for 'Confusion' Over Family Photo That Caused Controversy

The Princess of Wales has described herself as an “enthusiastic amateur photographer” and often gets behind the camera for the birthdays of her children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5.

Prince William, 41, was credited with taking the picture that the couple released on Sunday for Mother's Day in the U.K. The photo, which the palace noted was taken last week, showed Princess Kate seated and smiling at the family's home in Windsor with Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte around her.

However, within hours of the image being released to social media, some speculated that the picture looked edited or even AI-generated. Eagle-eyed viewers spotted inconsistencies with the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand, Prince Louis’ sweater pattern and blurring around Princess Kate’s hair.

Global photo agencies, including the Associated Press, Getty Images, Reuters, the AFP and most recently, PA, pulled the picture from their press libraries around concerns about manipulation.

The Associated Press issued a “kill notification” for anyone using the photo, writing in an alert to journalists that after “closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image. No replacement photo will be sent.”

In a clue to specifics, a spokesperson for the agency told The Telegraph, "The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand."

Related: Kate Middleton's 2024 Mother's Day Photo 'Killed' After Associated Press Alleges the Image Was 'Manipulated'

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> A statement shared to the Prince and Princess of Wales' Instagram Story on March 11.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

A statement shared to the Prince and Princess of Wales' Instagram Story on March 11.

The saga took another turn when Princess Kate issued a surprise statement to apologize for the controversy.

"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,” the Princess of Wales wrote on X and Instagram Story on Monday around 10:30 a.m. local time.

The statement was signed with a “C” for Catherine, her full name. The Prince and Princess of Wales use the initials of their first names as shorthand on social media to signal when correspondence personally comes from them.

<p>Matthew Horwood - WPA Pool/Getty</p> Kate Middleton and Prince William visit the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team in Wales in April 2023.

Matthew Horwood - WPA Pool/Getty

Kate Middleton and Prince William visit the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team in Wales in April 2023.

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Princess Kate signed the initial Mother’s Day message the same way on Sunday, adding a personal touch to the family photograph.

“Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months. Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day,” she wrote. “C.”

Later in the day on Monday, Prince William is set to step out at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Service of Celebration, which  Queen Camilla will also attend. While King Charles won’t be there in person as postpones public-facing duties while receiving cancer treatment, Buckingham Palace said that a pre-recorded message from the monarch will play during the service, which will bring 2,000 guests together for a celebration of the global network of 56 countries that comprise the Commonwealth. 

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