The Royal Family

Princess Kate Pictured Leaving Windsor With Prince William

Kate Middleton was seen leaving Windsor Castle with Prince William hours after apologizing for “any confusion” around her Mother’s Day photo.

On Monday, the Prince and Princess of Wales were photographed driving from Windsor Castle in an image published by the Daily Mail. The snap showed the couple sitting in the backseat of a car, where Prince William, 41, glanced down and Princess Kate, 42, looked out the window.

PEOPLE understands that Princess Kate was heading to a private appointment.

Prince William stepped out on Monday with members of the royal family for the annual Commonwealth Day Service of Celebration at Westminster Abbey in London, which his wife was not expected to attend as the Princess of Wales postponed public duties during her private recovery following abdominal surgery.

The sighting of Princess Kate with her husband came after trouble erupted around the first official picture of her since the surgery took place on Jan. 16.

On Monday morning, Princess Kate released a surprise statement after multiple global photo agencies including the Associated Press, Getty Images and Reuters pulled the photo that the palace shared on Sunday of Princess Kate with her three kids, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The shot was taken by Prince William last week in Windsor, where the Wales family lives, and shared on social media in honor of Mother’s Day in the U.K.

READ: This Event Is When Princess Kate Might Make Her First Apeparance

However, speculation surfaced as some wondered if the picture was edited due to several inconsistencies such as the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand, Prince Louis’ sweater pattern and blurring around Princess Kate’s hair, among other hiccups.

Princess Kate personally apologized in a statement shared online.

“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. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day,” the Princess of Wales wrote in a post shared on social media around 10:30 a.m. local time on Monday. She signed the note “C,” shorthand for Catherine, indicating the personal nature of the message.

A palace insider downplayed the PR crisis, telling PEOPLE exclusively that although the situation is a “bump in the road, it’s not an earthquake.”

“She has apologized and graciously so,” the insider says. “She has done something that 99% of us do — and we don’t have the scrutiny that they do.”

“Think of the level of scrutiny of pictures of her, as people pore over them,” the insider continues. “You’re always on display and always got to be perfect.”

Mark Borkowski, a London-based public relations and crisis communications expert, tells PEOPLE the situation is “pretty damning.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William Attend Royal Christmas with Children

“The difficulty now is because there is so little information about what’s happening to Kate, if they were going to project things are all normal in this way — with a photo that is now deemed to be fake — it is pretty damning about the floundering and the poor decision making that’s going on,” he says.

The Princess of Wales’ last official outing was for the royal family’s traditional walk to church on Christmas Day.

Last week, she was seen for the first time since Kensington Palace announced that she had had surgery. On March 4, Princess Kate was spotted in a car with her mother, Carole Middleton, in photos obtained by Backgrid.


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