It all started early this morning when BBC reporter Ahmen Khawaja’s Twitter account tweeted out that Queen Elizabeth was being treated at King Edward VII Hospital in London. She quickly thereafter tweeted “Queen Elizabrth has died.”
The tweets were retweeted by several people, including CNN and German newspaper Bild, before the BBC reporter realized what had happened and tweeted a retraction. “False alarm: Have deleted previous tweets!”
Sources say that Khawaja had overheard a BBC routine rehearsal for royal deaths and tweeted the information thinking that it was true. Khawaja herself claimed that the tweet was a “silly prank” that happened when her phone was left unattended. However, the BBC released a statement saying the tweet was sent out mistakenly “during a technical rehearsal for an obituary.” Khawaja and the BBC Press Team should have probably coordinated stories before apologizing.
Coincidentally, Queen Elizabeth was indeed at King Edward VII Hospital this morning for a routine check-up. A BBC spokesperson told The Daily Beast that the Khawaja would face disciplinary action for the erroneous tweets.
What have we learned from all of this? It’s probably better to be a little late to a story and have official confirmation than to jump the gun and kill the queen.