A photograph of what some say reveals a young Angela Merkel strolling nude on a pier is circulating online.
The image, which features two other also naked women, reportedly shows a then 18-year-old Merkel, several European news outlets have suggested.
It was apparently originally posted online in 2009 on nudist lifestyle blog Nudarist.
Spanish Vanity Fair launched its own investigation, claiming out the body proportions are “very similar” and that the naked woman has the same “forward tilt of the head" as Merkel, now 58.
It also points out Merkel spent her youth in Communist Germany, where nudism – or Freikörperkultur, which translates as Free Body Culture - was popular.
It adds: ‘The photographs could be potentially damaging to Merkel’s international reputation.”
The Germany Embassy in Washington has declined to comment on the picture, Buzzfeed reports.
However, Nudarist blogger Chet Kresiak told the website in his opinion it is NOT Merkel.
Kresiak says he believes the image originally appeared in a Swedish nudist magazine published in the 1950s and 60s called HELIOS.
He said: “She was born in 1954. This appears to be an April Fool’s joke.”