It’s not uncommon for rumors about Queen Elizabeth’s death to make headlines, but this time, recent reports have royal followers seriously wondering if it’s true. Is Queen Elizabeth dead?
Here’s what we know so far. Rumors of Queen Elizabeth’s death were sparked again in February 2022 when gossip website, Hollywood Unlocked, claimed that the monarch passed away at the age of 95. The publication’s claim came just days after reports confirmed that the Queen had tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in close contact with her eldest son, Prince Charles, who also contracted the virus earlier in the month. According to Hollywood Unlocked, the Queen was “found dead” after she was set to attend a wedding.
“It is with our deepest regret to inform you that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has died,” their report read. “Sources close to the Royal Kingdom notified us exclusively that Queen Elizabeth has passed away. She was scheduled to attend the wedding of British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, but was found dead.”
While the site did not cite any official palace sources, Hollywood Unlocked CEO and founder Jason Lee took to Twitter to back up the outlet’s claims. “We don’t post lies and I always stand by my sources,” he wrote at the time. “Waiting for an official statement from the palace.” Later, the CEO reiterated his stance on Instagram, writing, “I’ve never lied;” “I’ve never been wrong;” “I trust my sources;” and “I have yet to see an official statement from the palace saying otherwise,” in a numbered list. Despite Lee’s statement, however, many remained unconvinced that the rumors about the Queen’s death were true.
Is Queen Elizabeth dead?
So, is Queen Elizabeth dead? The answer is a resounding no. At the time of writing, the Queen is alive and well as she continues to recover after she tested positive from COVID-19. According to a source who spoke to Us Weekly on February 23, 2022, the monarch has been recovering “without any fuss” despite reports of her death. “Of course, she has a team of doctors to lean on whenever needed and a support staff that’s second to none,” the insider told the site. “But thus far Her Majesty has been handling this without any fuss or need to involve too many others in her recovery.”
But what about those rumors about Queen Elizabeth’s death? Following Hollywood Unlocked’s report on February 22, 2022, the outlet issued a statement on social media apologizing for the false story and blaming the report on a mistaken “intern journalist” who “published the draft post by mistake.” They added, “Our deepest apologies goes out to the #RoyalFamily and all involved in this embarrassing situation. It was an accident and we’re working hard to make sure that this mistake never happens again.”
Even before the outlet retracted their story, social media users and royal followers alike spent hours questioning the veracity of Hollywood Unlocked’s report about Queen Elizabeth’s death. Many individuals found it difficult to believe that a tabloid blog in the United States would be the first to break the news about the British monarch’s passing, especially before outlets in the United Kingdom had a chance to report the story. Others also noted the suspicious nature of Hollywood Unlocked’s assertion that the Queen was “found dead” before attending a wedding; considering that the monarch tested positive for COVID-19 and canceled her recent royal engagements, it was highly unlikely that she was set to attend a public event like Vogue editor Edward Enniful’s nuptials.
What happens when the Queen dies?
While the Queen is still with us today, there will come a time when the monarch passes away. So what happens when Queen Elizabeth dies, exactly? When the time comes, the palace has a detailed plan—called “Operation London Bridge”—to be executed upon the Queen’s death.
When the Queen dies, news of her death will first be shared using a code phrase, thought to be “London Bridge is down,” among government officials. Notified individuals will likely include the prime minister, the cabinet secretary and other senior officials. In addition, news of the Queen’s death will be shared with the governments of which she is the head of state, along with the nations of the Commonwealth where she is still considered a symbolic figurehead.
After governments officials are notified, news of the Queen’s death will be announced to the public through a newsflash to the British Press Association. The palace will also begin to stage displays of mourning, including black imagery across all social media accounts, shared statements on official websites and a black death announcement pinned to the gates of Buckingham Palace. The royal family and prime minister will be expected to issue their official statements. Later in the evening, the Queen’s eldest son—Prince Charles—will address the world as the United Kingdom’s new king.
Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
For more about the British royal family, check out Sally Bedell Smith’s 2012 biography, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch . The New York Times bestseller, which includes the “real story” behind several storylines featured in Netflix’s The Crown, follows Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her childhood as the “heiress presumptive” to her father, King George VI; to the moment he et her husband, Prince Philip, when she was 13 years old; to her ascension to the throne at 25 years old in 1952. Elizabeth the Queen, which also includes interviews with Buckingham Palace sources and never-before-revealed documents, provides a deep dive into the Queen’s legacy as one of the most famous monarchs in recent history.
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