AN apology from Kate Middleton over an edited photo released on Mother’s Day does not provide the public with answers and shows the royals "cannot handle social media", a campaigner has insisted.

Several picture agencies including PA and Reuters decided to pull a picture issued by Kensington Palace at the weekend of Kate and her three children over concerns it had been “manipulated”.

Kate’s uncle Gary Goldsmith defended the family and claimed they would not have been responsible for altering the image.

But after initially declining to comment on the allegations, eventually a statement was issued on Monday morning by the Princess of Wales where she admitted to having edited the photo.

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Apologising for any confusion caused, she said: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.”

The episode has fuelled further conspiracy theories around the health of the princess after she had abdominal surgery two months ago.

Anti-monarchy group Republic rejected the explanation saying it was a “press office attempt to say as little as possible”.

Tristan Gray, convener of Scottish campaign group Our Republic, has now said the “ridiculous” situation shows the “bizarre warped reality” the royals live in.

Asked how he felt about the apology from Kate, Gray said: “I really don't think it answers very much, but it's unsurprising the royals are tying themselves in knots when the institution and its network of royal correspondents are almost uniquely unfit to handle the modern social media landscape. 

“The whole situation is ridiculous and yet another reminder of the bizarre warped reality that the royals live in. One where what could be a perfectly ordinary time off after a medical procedure is blown out of all proportion, with conspiracies fuelled by a royal tradition of secrecy while being locked in a battle with their own dependence on constant media promotion. 

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“The whole institution relies on creating an alternate reality where they're both relevant to modern life but also a nostalgic remnant of an imagined glorious past.”

The photo agencies decided to issue a “kill notification” on the picture after it was issued by Kensington Palace online noting “inconsistencies in alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand”.

Royal sources said the Princess of Wales made “minor adjustments” and that Kate and the Prince of Wales wanted to offer an informal picture of the family together for Mother’s Day.

Kensington Palace said it would not be reissuing the original unedited photograph of Kate and her children despite calls to do so.