Picture of 'Meghan Markle' snapped picking up dog poo near Kensington Palace goes viral – but royal officials insist it's NOT her

The snap shows a woman – dressed in all black – standing near the Palace gates in West London as her dog squats down to do its business.

It was shared on Twitter by US journalist Lisa Petrillo, who claims she spotted the Duchess of Sussex this week while on holiday in the capital.

But royal sources today strenuously denied to The Sun Online that the woman in the picture is Meghan.

A source said: "It's not her."

Others also took to Twitter to suggest the same image could have appeared on microblogging site Tumblr in 2014 – sharing file data to prove it was an old picture. But The Sun Online has been unable to verify this.

And the dog in the latest snap shares different markings to those of Meghan's beloved dogs – a beagle called Guy and a Labrador-shepherd mix called Bogart. She also reportedly adopted a black Labrador, Oz, with Prince Harry in recent months.

The photo had sent Twitter into a frenzy after fans believed it showed Prince Harry's new wife in public without security.

Sharing the snap on Twitter, Ms Petrillo claimed: "So incredibly enough, walking by Kensington Royal – we spotted this beautiful, woman with a familiar air where Harry & Meghan live.

"MEGHAN!? her dog was doing his business.

Are you the woman in the photograph? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502.

"She couldn’t have been sweeter. #princessespickuppooptoo"

She later added that the woman did pick up the dog's business, adding: "I'm still in total shock ! I pet her dog!"

The photograph shows the woman standing with her face down, staring at her phone. Her hair appears to be tucked into a ponytail underneath a black cap covering her face.

Fans were quick to comment on the photo – debating on whether or not it was in fact the actual Duchess.

One wrote: "Sure looks like Meghan to me!"

Another added: "What are the odds!!!!!!?? Have so much fun!!!"

But others weren't so sure, with one writing: "That’s not her… nor is it her dog."

Another added: "Totally not Meghan and doesn't remotely look like her dog Guy. Cute dog though."

Meghan has always been a dog-lover and was heartbroken when she had to leave Bogart, her beloved Labrador-German Shepherd mix behind in Toronto when she moved to the UK.

Her other dog, a beagle named Guy, was flown here in November but Bogart was thought too old to make the long plane journey.

He is being looked after by friends of Meghan.

Yet despite the cynicism, the entertainment reporter has since insisted that it was a true encounter.

She wrote on Twitter: "I’m here on vacation.

"NOT working. spotted her – as did many of us. We were thrilled – don’t care if you don’t believe. sorry you’re so negative. it was just a sweet moment I shared.

"More important things to worry about. wow."

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