The fallout from Princess Kate Middleton’s photo editing scandal continues to escalate into a complete PR mess for the royal family, according to an expert.

Doug Eldridge of Achilles PR noted that releasing the initial photo of Middleton to calm the public’s nerves was “a shortsighted strategy.”

Meanwhile, her husband, Prince William, has been putting on a brave face and looking unfazed during two different public appearances on Thursday as the problems keep piling up for the palace.

Earlier in the day, he visited the WEST youth center, looking happy to be playing basketball and other games with kids.

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A video shared by Sky News also showed Prince William decorating cookies with the kids when he commented on his wife’s artistic skills.

Someone said they were impressed by his cookie decorating work, to which he replied, “My wife is the arty one,” adding, “My children are artier than I am.”

Later that evening, the Prince of Wales delivered a speech at the Diana Legacy Awards, a charity dedicated to his late mother, Princess Diana, where he mentioned his wife in passing but provided no new details about her condition or the photo debacle.

“I know that she would have been honored to see a charity in her name doing such inspirational work to uplift young people from all corners of the globe. She taught me that everyone has the potential to give something back; that everyone in need deserves a supporting hand in life,” he said of the charity, per the New York Post.

He continued, “That legacy is something that both Catherine and I have sought to focus on through our work, as have the 50,000 young people who have received a Diana Award over the past 25 years.”

The latest blow to Middleton and the palace came via the AFP, one of the leading photo agencies in the world, declaring that Kensington Palace is “absolutely not” a “trusted source” anymore.

“Like with anything, when you’re let down by a source, the bar is raised,” Phil Chetwynd, global news director of AFP, explained on an episode of the BBC’s “The Media Show.”

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Instagram placed an “altered photo” label on the photo, which was posted Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day in the U.K.

“Independent fact-checkers say the photo or image has been edited in a way that could mislead people, but not because it was shown out of context,” the warning reads.

Middleton admitted to editing the image of her and her three children, George, Charlotte and Louis, after people noticed errors and discrepancies, including Middleton not wearing her engagement and wedding rings.

Former British broadcaster Helena Chard told Fox News Digital that the Princess of Wales ultimately isn’t at fault for the photo dustup.

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“The Princess of Wales released an edited photo with good intentions. We should not blame her for the whole fallout,” Chard said. “The private secretary and Kensington Palace communication team should have advised and protected the Princess of Wales. The photo should not have been released as a news photo.”

Eldridge noted the “bizarre” decision to release the photo.

“Digitally altering a photo was a perplexing move to begin with, but purportedly using a photo which had already run in commercial magazines is even more bizarre,” Eldridge said, referring to speculation by internet detectives that a Vogue cover image of Middleton had allegedly been used.

He continued, “There has long been AI software that can detect forgeries in high-priced artwork or edits and augmentations to photographs. That said, digitally altering a photo in this day and age – especially when it’s related to a circumstance of such speculation – seems like a shortsighted strategy, at best.”

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Now, every picture shown of the princess is being questioned, including the most recent one of her riding in a car next to William, which was taken on Monday amid her apology for the photo editing mistakes.

Jim Bennett, the photographer who captured the image, told Fox News Digital, “We don’t change our photos in Photoshop other than adjusting the light levels, if necessary.”

“Car shots are unpredictable at the best of times, and with some reflection on the glass, it can be difficult,” he added. “As it happened, it wasn’t until I checked on the back of the camera to make sure I had a frame of Prince William that I realized there was someone sitting next to him. It turned out to be Catherine.”

The Princess of Wales’ health and whereabouts have generally been a mystery since she was last seen in public around Christmas. She was admitted to the hospital for planned abdominal surgery on Jan 17 and had only been seen once since, riding in a car with her mother, Carole Middleton.

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Other than stating the princess is “doing well” in a statement this month, the palace has not directly addressed Middleton’s health, fueling ongoing rumors that there is more going on behind closed doors.  

“It’s hard to know what to make of Kate’s purported health situation. If true, you hope and pray for the best, just as you would with anyone else,” Eldridge said. “What makes this seem ‘off’ is looking at past media engagement by the royal family. In that sense, a clear, concise statement describing the future queen of England’s medical prognosis and timetable would have effectively ended the controversy. While everyone has a certain right to privacy, that scale is skewed when you’re a royal, and in Kate’s case, the queen in waiting.”

He noted, “Kate is arguably falling victim to the same standard she set in year’s past. When she gave birth to her children, she was photographed just days later, looking beautiful and cutting a figure that would defy you to believe she’d carried and delivered a baby just 48 hours earlier. To that end, that Superwoman feat is now almost being held against her, whether right or wrong.”

“It has not only been a tumultuous week for the Prince and Princess of Wales but an incredibly stressful few years for them both,” Chard said. “They both have their personal stresses, which they deal with as a family privately, and the Princess of Wales has the added weight of recuperation.”

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“The frenzy is not just about being concerned for the Princess of Wales. People are sharing wicked conspiracy theories that are plain nasty and are enough to send anyone over the edge,” she added.

The palace’s cryptic approach has also led people to speculate that King Charles III’ health is more serious than previously indicated as well.

King Charles revealed in February that he had been diagnosed with “a form of cancer,” the palace’s statement said at the time. Prior to the announcement, he had undergone treatment for an enlarged prostate, around the same time as Middleton’s abdominal surgery.

The monarch skipped Commonwealth Day on Monday but addressed the attendees in a pre-recorded video, shared on the official royal family YouTube channel.

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“In recent weeks, I have been most deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and, in return, can only continue to serve you, to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth,” he stated.

Meanwhile, as the palace and the Prince and Princess of Wales are in crisis, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, has had two major wins this past week.

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On Thursday, she unveiled an Instagram account associated with her new venture, American Riviera Orchard.

No formal announcement has been made by Markle and Prince Harry’s spokespersons, but an American Riviera Orchard Instagram account was launched on Thursday along with a website. The biography on the account reads, “by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.”

Markle also scored a legal victory against her half-sister, Samantha Markle, when Samantha’s defamation lawsuit against her was dismissed with prejudice, meaning she cannot file the claims again.

Regardless of the rumors swirling and Middleton’s photo editing mishap, Chard says the princess is “a complete asset to our British royal family.”

She continued, “Why can’t people just be kind, stop pushing for unreasonable personal information and sniping at the Princess of Wales. Thank goodness the prince and princess keep as far away from social media as possible.”

“They will regroup and plan the best way forward,” Chard added.