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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Rewards of controversy? Spike in Kate and Prince William’s Instagram followers after photo controversy

Since the controversy of the photo, conspiracy theories about Kate Middleton’s whereabouts have spread like wildfire on social media.

Kate Middleton and Prince William’s controversial Mother’s Day  photo has seemingly reaped rewards for the royal couple, on Instagram at least. This after their following has reportedly grown by more than 100 000 followers.

What was supposed to be an innocent post relaying Kate Middleton’s wishes to moms in the UK on Sunday for Happy Mother’s Day turned into a controversial moment for the royal family after they were accused of manipulating the image.

According to OnlineCasinos365 which was quoted in The Hindustan Times, Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Instagram following has grown by more than 110 000.

The research conducted by OnlineCasinos365 examined the social media statistics of royal family members to establish the change in online following since speculation surrounding Kate Middleton’s whereabouts sent social media ablaze.

ALSO READ: ‘I do occasionally experiment with editing’– Kate Middleton apologises about photo controversy

The apology

A day after the photo was shared on their official Instagram account, Catherine, the Princess of Wales apologised for editing the photo with her kids, after it was cited by global photo agencies for manipulation.

“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,” she wrote on social media, responding to controversy surrounding the photo.

The shot was flagged by global photo agencies for being edited.

Reuters, the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP) are the three agencies that withdrew the first official photograph of Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, after her unspecified “abdominal” surgery claiming irregularities with the image.

The photo was shared on Sunday morning, but within hours the aforementioned agencies issued a “kill” notification, taking down the photograph from their own databases and requesting that clients who had licensed the photograph also remove it from their publications.

The AP said: “The source has manipulated the image”, while AFP cited an “editorial issue”. Reuters said it had withdrawn the photograph following a “post-publication review”.

ALSO READ: Princess of Wales wishes mothers in the UK a Happy Mother’s Day, as she continues to recover

The conspiracies  

Conspiracies surrounding the Princess of Wales’ whereabouts have been rife after the apology for editing the photo was released.

Some netizens have made assumptions questioning whether Catherine is still alive or if her surgery was actually for her abdomen.

Charles Spencer, younger brother to the late Princess Diana, officially weighed in on all the conspiracy theories surrounding the disappearance of Kate Middleton.

“I do worry about what happened to the truth,” Spencer, 59, told the BBC in an interview on Sunday.

“I think it was more dangerous back in the day,” Earl Spencer said in the interview.

“I think if I look back to ’97 and Diana’s death, I think the circumstances of her death [were] so shocking that it did make the industry that supports the paparazzi really consider more carefully what it couldn’t, not because they had a moral judgment but because it was unacceptable.”

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