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Queen Elizabeth II is not dead, despite what you may have read on social media.
This weekend, a viral death hoax took hold on social media, claiming that the British monarch had passed away. As Hollywood Life noted, the hoax was boosted by a fake cover of a CNN article and by people sharing a #RIPQueenElizabeth hashtag on Twitter. As the report noted, the trend appeared to come from a viral prediction from a Reddit user that the Queen would pass away on January 5. Many users took to sharing the hashtag as a joke, but some people thought it was real.
“Queen Elizabeth was a great queen of England, through good times and bad, and with her passing comes a time of mourning for the whole world. #ripqueenelizabeth,” one person wrote.
This is far from the first time that Queen Elizabeth has been the target of a viral death hoax. There have been several other instances of people trying to spark viral rumors of her death, with the fake reports gaining steam a few times. In August 2016, one false report claimed that the head of the British Royal Family had died in her sleep, leading many to share condolences online.
In that case, there was a concerted effort by someone to share the story. It was published on a website called the Guard1an, which was made to imitate the legitimate British newspaper The Guardian. This report even went so far as to include a fake quote from Buckingham Palace.
“With the greatest sadness, at about 3.15pm, our beloved monarch Queen Elizabeth II passed away. Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926 in London. She will be missed but not forgotten,” the fake quote read.
Other members of the Royal Family have been targets of viral rumors, many of which turned out to be false. Kate Middleton is one of the biggest targets, including a series of reports claiming she was pregnant — which eventually rang true when she actually got pregnant — and others claiming that she was carrying twins. The newest member of the Royal Family, Meghan Markle, also became a target for similar reports, including some that she was also carrying twins.
Before the death hoax that took hold this week, Queen Elizabeth II had also been targeted by rumors claiming that she was planning to step down from the throne and allow her grandson, Prince William, to become the King of England. The Royal Family has not issued any statement about the claims and has remained silent on the most recent death hoax.