Multiple photo agencies, including Reuters and AP, have pulled a new image of the Princess of Wales from circulation over concerns that it has been “manipulated”.

The picture in question was released on Sunday morning to celebrate Mother’s Day and shows Kate surrounded by her and Prince William’s three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The image was initially circulated by a number of picture agencies but on Sunday night at least two withdrew it and told media outlets to “kill” the photo from their systems and archives.

Associated Press also updated its website to inform journalists and broadcasters that the picture was being “killed”.

The updated caption read: “At closer inspection, it appears that the source has manipulated the image.”

Kensington Palace had provided the photo to agencies and said it had been taken by the Prince of Wales earlier this week.

Kensington Palace has declined to comment.

More on Princess Of Wales

In a message accompanying the photo on Instagram, Kate wrote: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months.

“Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”

The Palace’s response makes this all the more bizarre

This is all really strange. We have some respected international news agencies deciding to kill this photo.

In other words, they are pulling it from their distribution websites because they believe it has been changed, altered, photoshopped – call it what you like.

We don’t know what manipulation of the photo means. Is it a filter? Are there tweaks? We just don’t know.

What we do know is Kensington Palace has declined to comment which makes it all the more bizarre.

The image and message came amid speculation about the Princess of Wales’s health following a brief hospital stay in January.

Kate was admitted for “planned abdominal surgery” on 16 January, exactly a week after her 32nd birthday.

The following day, the Palace said the operation was successful and Kate stayed in hospital until 29 January, when she was discharged home to Windsor.

At the time, Sky News understood that her recuperation would likely take between two and three months.

Kate has not been seen in public since she joined other members of the Royal Family for a Christmas Day walk, though US celebrity news site TMZ published a photo of her on 4 March.

The photo was understood to have been taken by unauthorised paparazzi near Windsor Castle.

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