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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 16 December, 2019

Royal expert dismisses claims the Queen has died as 'vicious rumours'

News of the British monarch’s demise circulated on social media last night.

Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Royal Philatelic society in London (file photo)
Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Royal Philatelic society in London (file photo)
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

A ROYAL EXPERT has rubbished an allegation that Queen Elizabeth II has died, saying that the British monarch is still alive.

Charlie Proctor, the editor-in-chief of the news website Royal Central, described claims circulating on social media about the Queen’s demise as “vicious rumours”.

The news began to circulate after a screenshot from a Whatsapp messaging group went viral late last night.

In it, an individual nicknamed ‘Gibbo’ forwarded a message – purportedly from a royal guards’ group – which claimed that the 93-year-old died from a heart attack on Sunday morning and that her death would be announced at 9.30am today.

But in a post on Royal Central, Proctor dismissed the rumour as a hoax and said the Queen is “alive and well”.

“Vicious rumours claiming that The Queen died on Sunday morning are being shared on social media,” he said.

“In this latest ‘fake news’ pandemic, an anonymous account claimed that the 93-year-old monarch died on Sunday morning, with a media blackout being in place until Monday morning.

“In actual fact, Her Majesty is enjoying a good night of sleep in anticipation of her next big engagement on Tuesday where she will host President Trump and other world leaders at Buckingham Palace for a NATO reception.”

The hoax saw tens of thousands of humorous tweets sent overnight, with ‘The Queen’ and ‘Gibbo’ both trending on Twitter for a time.

According to a 2017 piece in The Guardian, which describes what will happen in the event of the Queen’s death, plans have been in place for such an event since the 1960s.

An organising committee is said to meet up to three times a year to plan for the Queen’s funeral and a period of mourning as part of a plan known as ‘London Bridge’.

Prime minister Boris Johnson would be informed first, before news was sent to the other 15 governments where the Queen is the head of state, as well as those of the 36 countries in the Commonwealth. 

However, the public would likely find out through a newsflash to the Press Association and the world’s other media organisations – and not through a social media rumour.

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