By Mark Duell and Amie Gordon For Mailonline
Published: 09:17 GMT, 25 December 2019 | Updated: 08:16 GMT, 26 December 2019
The Duchess of Sussex’s friend has released the original photograph taken for the family’s Christmas card amid claims on social media that the image had been ‘photoshopped’.
American actress Janina Gavankar was asked by her friend Meghan Markle to take the image for the card which shows her and husband Prince Harry with their seven-month-old son Archie in the foreground.
Last night the 39-year-old tweeted: ‘So proud to have taken the Christmas photo for one of my best friends and her family. Here’s the original that was sent out.’
This comes as the Duke and Duchess wished their Instagram followers a Happy Christmas today.
The post read: ‘Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.’
American actress Janina Gavankar was asked by her friend Meghan Markle to take the image for the card which shows her and husband Prince Harry with their seven-month-old son Archie in the foreground
This comes as the Duke and Duchess wished their Instagram followers a Happy Christmas today
The card was not officially released through any official royal channels, and first appeared on an unverified Twitter account called The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Initially shared as a moving Gif image, with the lights on the tree twinkling, the account said: ‘Just sharing the sweetest Christmas Card from our President and Vice-President, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Very Merry Christmas, everyone!’
Ms Gavankar’s tweet follows claims on social media that the image had been ‘photoshopped’.
Meghan’s face appeared significantly more in focus than that of Prince Harry in the picture appearing online, despite them both being roughly the same distance behind Archie.
The black and white festive image shows Harry and Meghan sitting by a Christmas tree smiling as the seven-month-old gazes into the camera in the foreground.
One possible reason is that the image of her face was taken in another similar photograph in the same shoot, and then added onto the picture they released.
The images may also have appeared different because the Sussex’s Christmas card was initially shared as a moving Gif image – but was seemingly sharpened when sent out as a still image.
It is not suggested that the Duke and Duchess edited the image.
It is believed that copies of the image, taken by the couple’s friend Janina Gavankar, were emailed to friends and staff on Monday and hard copies sent to family.
A spokesman for the Sussexes has confirmed the card’s authenticity. Harry and Meghan are currently spending a six-week break over the festive period in Canada.
The duchess, a former actress, lived and worked in Toronto during her time starring in the popular US drama Suits.
Harry, Meghan and Archie in Cape Town on September 25 during their tour of South Africa
The couple were famously pictured together when Meghan joined her then-boyfriend Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games in the Canadian city.
The Sussexes are likely to have spent the US Thanksgiving celebrations, which this year fell on November 28, with the duchess’ mother Gloria Ragland.
It is already been revealed they will not be joining the Queen and other members of the Royal Family at Sandringham on Christmas Day, as they are taking a break.
The Queen is said to be supportive of the Sussexes’ plans and it follows the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s past decision to spend Christmas with Kate’s parents.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were pictured on a Christmas card with baby son Archie.
The black-and-white snap, described as ‘adorable’ online, shows the smiling royals in the background seated by a Christmas tree while seven-month-old Archie takes centre stage in the fore.
The picture was taken by Meghan’s friend Janina Gavankar.
The Duchess of Sussex is pictured with her friend Janina Gavankar, who took the photo
Gavankar, 39, is an American actress of Indian heritage who is best known for her TV roles.
She played a lesbian in one season of drama The L Word, a shapeshifter in fantasy horror series True Blood and a security agent on supernatural drama Sleepy Hollow.
Gavankar is currently appearing in Apple TV+ drama The Morning Show
Gavankar is currently appearing in Apple TV+ drama The Morning Show alongside Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
Her film roles include 2014 rom-com Think Like A Man Too, starring Kevin Hart, Regina Hall and Taraji P Henson.
As well as her acting career, Gavankar is also a musician and was part of an all-female singing group called Endera.
Gavankar is also a fan of video games and has lent her voice to several, including shooter Far Cry 4 and Star Wars Battlefront II.
In her Twitter bio she describes herself as ‘actor. musician. geek.’
Gavankar, who has been friends with Meghan for more than 15 years, attended the 2018 Royal Wedding and said she did not announce her invite before being pictured arriving at Windsor Castle.
She told Town & Country magazine: ‘In the end, this was a wedding, an actual wedding, between two people, who are real people that fell in love.
Gavankar is an American actress of Indian heritage who is best known for her TV roles
‘And people who know them know that this is a private moment that was not allowed to be private.
‘It wasn’t a priority for me to have my publicist announce I was going. My priority will always be my friend. I’m not there for you, I’m there for her.’
Speaking in May last year, she also said she hoped the couple would get ‘as much privacy as possible’.
She added: ‘As much as the world will allow them, I hope for more. Truly.’
Gavankar was one of the lucky wedding guests invited to the after party and listened to Harry’s speech.
She said: ‘The speech that Harry gave was so funny, self-deprecating, filled with love, and that guy just has her back. I left feeling so solid for them.
‘I walked away feeling so confident that these two will put their combined power into the world for good. They did it apart. They’ve done it apart their entire lives. Imagine what they can do together.’
Meghan Markle’s friend releases original of Christmas photo
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