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Princess Beatrice and Zara Tindall Have a Blast at Horse Race as Kate Middleton Photo Controversy Continues

The first cousins and their husbands hung out together at the third day of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

<p>Adam Davy/PA Images/Getty</p> Princess Beatrice, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2024.

Adam Davy/PA Images/Getty

Princess Beatrice, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2024.

Princess Beatrice and Zara Tindall are kicking off spring with a double date at the races.

On Thursday, the first cousins and their husbands, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi and Mike Tindall, spent time together at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. The foursome laughed in a few group photos taken on the third day of the horse race, which is known as St. Patrick’s Thursday.

While the outing seemed social, Zara was technically on duty. The equestrian, 42, is on the Cheltenham Racecourse committee and attended the race for the third day in a row. Zara’s mother, Princess Anne, also came to spectate for a second day, which is no surprise as she’s a dedicated horsewoman like her daughter.

Members of the royal family often slip into the stands at certain equestrian events around the U.K., and Queen Camilla, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank checked out the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday.

<p>Adam Davy/PA Images/Getty</p> Princess Beatrice, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2024.

Adam Davy/PA Images/Getty

Princess Beatrice, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Mike Tindall and Zara Tindall at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2024.

Related: Photographer Who Took Kate Middleton and Prince William Car Photo Addresses New Editing Speculation

The Thursday trip to the Cheltenham Festival came three days after Kate Middleton, 42, released a rare apology to social media for "any confusion" regarding the Mother’s Day photo published on Sunday after multiple global photo agencies pulled the picture of the princess and her kids due to suspicion of manipulation.

Sky News later announced an investigation of the metadata that indicated the original image was saved twice in Adobe Photoshop.

<p>The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram</p> Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Instagram

Kate Middleton with her three children, Prince Louis, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Related: Prince William Is All Smiles as He Steps Out amid Kate Middleton Photo Controversy

Mark Borkowski, a London-based public relations and crisis communications expert, tells PEOPLE that the palace didn’t calm concerns by sharing a new image with the public — "in fact, it's made it worse."

"Now some people are asking if it is all generated by AI or is it a Photoshop of a photo taken. It’s not something you'd want the royal brand to be aligned with," he says.

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

"[Kate] 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."

<p>IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty</p> Kate Middleton at the opening of the Children's Day Surgery Unit at Evelina London on December 5, 2023.

IAN VOGLER/POOL/AFP via Getty

Kate Middleton at the opening of the Children's Day Surgery Unit at Evelina London on December 5, 2023.

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In another ripple, some then wondered if the picture of Princess Kate driving away from Windsor Castle with Prince William on Monday was doctored, as the bricks looked different through the window and above the vehicle.

Goff Photos, the agency that got the shots, denied editing the images. Goff told E! News that the pictures "have been cropped and lightened” but clarified that "nothing has been doctored."

Jim Bennett, the photographer who snapped the photos, tells PEOPLE, "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."

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