The Royal Navy has admitted it could be to blame for sparking a rumour that the Queen had died. An exercise on one of its airbases last week may have inadvertently led to stories circulating about the 93-year-old monarch’s demise.
The rumour began on Sunday when a screenshot from a WhatsApp group chat was shared online and quickly went viral. Inside the image was a conversation believed to be between military personnel stating what equipment personnel would need for an exercise to do with the royal’s passing.
In the group, one person named ‘Gibbo’ forwarded a message that read: ‘Queens passed away this morning, heart attack, being announced 930 AM tomorrow (sic).’ The message also read: ‘Channel dash 0800 tomorrow in full number 1s, in your black kit bag you need: 1 set of 3s 1 set of 4s Underwear and socks for 2 weeks (sic).’
The Royal Navy has now confirmed that the message was part of a practice military exercise and not intended to be taken as real. It had been sent to personnel at the Royal Navy Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton, who were practising for an Operation London Bridge recall – the codename used for when the Queen dies.
It is thought that someone was sent the message and believed it to be real then forwarded it onto another. A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘We can confirm an internal exercise took place at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in line with established contingency plans for recall of personnel.
‘These exercises are conducted on a regular basis and no significance should be drawn from the timing of the exercise. ‘While the exercise was conducted properly, we regret any misunderstanding this may have caused.’
Buckingham Palace was forced to confirm the Queen is still alive and well and said it was ‘business as usual’ for the Royal Family. After the rumour, the Queen held a drinks event at Buckingham Palace for Nato leaders.