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Fake BBC Twitter Accounts Spread Queen Elizabeth II Death Hoax

At least two fake BBC accounts spread a false claim that Queen Elizabeth II had died on Thursday, December 29.

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The death hoax spread like wildfire across social media on Thursday after multiple accounts, including two with the Twitter handles @BBCNewsUKI and @BBCNewsUKk, tweeted the following message: “BREAKING: Buckingham Palace announces the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 90. Circumstances are unknown. More to follow soon.”

A number of writers and even the French ambassador to the U.S., Gérard Araud, retweeted the message before realizing it was a hoax. (The fake BBC accounts have since been suspended.)

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II on Nov. 24, 2016 in London.

“First time, I am victim of fake news. Whoah! Now, I do understand the problem. I’ll be more careful,” Araud tweeted after expressing his relief that the claim was false.

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The hoax messages came less than a week after Buckingham Palace revealed that the 90-year-old monarch was unable to attend the traditional Christmas morning service at the church on her Sandringham estate as she was recovering from a “heavy cold.” It was the first time in 30 years that the Queen, who is the head of the Church of England, didn’t attend the service, but a palace spokesperson told Us at the time that the monarch would “participate in the royal family Christmas celebrations during the day.”

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The Queen and her husband of 69 years, Prince Philip, 95, also delayed the start of their annual holiday break at her Norfolk estate as they were both sick with colds. While she normally takes the train every year to her country estate, this year the pair made the 100-mile journey by helicopter.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the rumors on Thursday.

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