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Blake Lively Apologizes for Kate Middleton Post Encouraging ‘Photoshop Fails Frenzy’

Actress Blake Lively publicly apologized for being one of many who joked about the retouched photo of Kate Middleton in the wake of her cancer diagnosis revelation.

The Princess of Wales announced on Friday that she has been diagnosed with an unnamed cancer. The video announcement put an end to months of speculation about her health, which included revelations that Kensington Palace has a history of manipulating photos published with agencies like the Associated Press. Plenty of people scrutinized and mocked the Photoshopped images, including Lively, who apologized for her role in encouraging the “Photoshop fails frenzy.”

“I’m sure no one cares today but I feel like I have to acknowledge this,” Lively wrote in an Instagram story. “I made a silly post around the ‘Photoshop fails’ frenzy, and oh man, that post has me mortified today. I’m sorry. Sending love and well wishes to all, always.”

Middleton revealed the information in a video shared on social media. She explained that her condition was initially not considered cancerous, but subsequent testing found cancer present. Her January surgery was successful, but she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy at present. “I am now in the early stages of that treatment,” she explained.

The Princess of Wales is the third member of the royal family to have shared a cancer diagnosis in as many months.

Lively is not the only person to have expressed regret at how they discussed Middleton’s absence online. Jamie Lee Curtis and Jimmy Kimmel were among those who publicly called for an end to the speculation ahead of the release of Middleton’s message.

While some have worried that Middleton revealed her private health information to put an end to the online speculation, sources told People on Saturday that she and the Prince of Wales chose Friday because it coincided with the day their children began Easter break. The three Windsor children will not return to school until mid-April.

Tessy Ojo, the chief executive of the Diana Award and who has worked with Prince William on initiatives that pertain to cyberbullying, told the outlet, “I would love for the public to learn from this and make people stop and think. When we think because they are public figures that we have every right to know the ins and outs and everything.”

“I would hope this will teach us something as a public, that people should respect privacy and that people have private lives and that we don’t have to know everything. The least we can do is show kindness,” Ojo added.

Others laid the blame for the debacle at the feet of Kensington Palace. As screenwriter Alanna Bennet put it, “To me the take-away is less ‘people are bad for gossiping’ and more ‘the palace PR machine is deeply broken and stupid and they could’ve squashed the rumor mill any time even without announcing the cancer.'”

As Twitter/X user @okelay pointed out, the palace’s insistence on silence in the wake of public scrutiny has not always worked well in the past. They tweeted, “there were so many alternatives and they went for the old silence route, which does not work, has not worked in decades?”

As was later reenacted on “The Crown” years later, Buckingham Palace famously waited days after Princess Diana’s death to make a statement in a pre-social media 1997, only changing course after public outrage grew to a fever pitch. The revelation that the royals were so out of step with the public was was said to have marked a turning point in the palace’s “keep calm and carry on” approach.

Earlier this week, ABC’s royal commentator Victoria Murphy emphasized that having separate press offices for Buckingham and Kensington Palace marks a shift in how the family communicates through tough times. She explained, “I do think William and Kate are very much in the driving seat here over the final result of statements or decisions by the palace.”

“With the royal family, you do see a situation where, even with their most senior staff, there can be a power imbalance because of who they are and the positions they hold. [The royals] can never not have the top jobs.”

Murphy added, “Couple that with the fact that this situation relates to something in their personal life and something as personal as Kate’s health, this is about them making their own decisions based on what is right for them with that in mind.”

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