False rumours that The Queen has died have been spreading across Twitter after a fake BBC account shared the ‘news’ earlier this evening.
@BBCNewsUKI tweeted: “BREAKING: Buckingham Palace announces the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 90. Circumstances are unknown. More to follow.”
It later added: “Love a Tuesday off if the queens dead, announce it before it’s too late.”
The account was later suspended, but not before scores of people on the social media site shared the post or asked if it was true.
There have also been a series of tweets posting tracks from The Smiths’ classic album The Queen is Dead.
The fake news comes after The Queen was absent from the Christmas church service at Sandringham on Christmas Day for the first time in nearly 30 years due to illness.
Buckingham Palace said at the time that Her Majesty “continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery.”
It was the first time the 90-year-old monarch has not attended the annual Christmas Day church service at her Norfolk estate since 1988.
But it’s not the first time her ‘death’ has been reported.
BBC reporter Ahmen Khawaja caused a stir last year after she tweeted: “Elizabrth (sic) has died: @BBCWorld.”
She later admitted that she hadn’t realised a royal obituary rehearsal she was watching in the BBC studio was real.
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The drill was a routine rehearsal for the Queen’s death that staff had been asked not to put on social media.
The tweet was quickly removed and Ms Khawaja, 31, initially claimed she’d been the victim of a “silly prank” after she left her phone unattended.
However, a BBC spokesman instead said the mistake happened during a “technical rehearsal for an obituary” of the Queen and she later admitted her gaff.
The BBC’s statement at the time said: “During a technical rehearsal for an obituary, tweets were mistakenly sent from the account of a BBC journalist saying that a member of the Royal Family had been taken ill. The tweets were swiftly deleted and we apologise for any offence.”
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the latest rumours.
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Crowds gather as Prince Philip and family attend church service