Magazine admits to digitally altering slim Kate photo

Duchess Kate hardly seems a candidate to have her figure doctored to look even thinner in a photograph.

But an Italian women’s fashion magazine has admitted it inadvertently did just that in a cover photo of the royal bride.

Responding to a complaint that the May 9 special collector’s issue of Grazia magazine showed The Duchess of Cambridge looking artificially slimmer, Britain’s Press Complaints Commission investigated the magazine’s process for the Kate cover photo and found that indeed, Kate’s already wispy waist was whittled down further.

The magazine explained it wanted a solo shot of Kate in her Alexander McQueen wedding dress on her big day — trouble was, editors couldn’t find a suitable shot without new husband Prince William on her arm. In the process of removing William from the picture, Kate’s right arm had to be altered to match her left, the magazine claims, so that it would like she was striking a pose.

“This involved mirroring one of the duchess’s arms and an inadvertent result of the change was the slimming of her waist,” the commission reported.

The magazine was apologetic, issuing a statement saying “we did not purposely make any alterations to the Duchess of Cambridge’s image to make her appear slimmer, and we are sorry if this process gave that impression.”

Kate and her stunning younger sister Pippa have become the focus of imagery on “thinspiration” on websites and on-line forums that promote anorexia and bulimia and offer instructions on how to lose weight.

To be sure, Kate is not fully the woman she once was: reports vary, but the duchess is believed to have lost as much as 20 pounds between her November engagement announcement and her April wedding to William. British papers reported Middleton shrunk from a size 6 to a size 2 dress size in the five months between her engagement and wedding.

Grazia's admission is just the latest digital-altering controversy, as photo altering, a long-standing practice in the fashion and advertising industries, has come under increased scrutiny lately. In late July, the Associated Press reported that Britain's advertising standards council banned two makeup ads — one, featuring Julia Roberts; the other, model Christy Turlington — on the grounds that the photo-altering was so heavy-handed that the images were actually misleading. The company behind the ads, L'Oreal, defended their ads as accurate.

"Pictures of flawless skin and super-slim bodies are all around, but they don't reflect reality," said British lawmaker Jo Swinson in a statement at the time. "With one in four people feeling depressed about their body, it's time to consider how these idealized images are distorting our idea of beauty."