Britain cries fake news over reports of royal death

Don't believe everything you see online: King Charles is still alive.

Don't believe everything you see online: King Charles is still alive. Photo: TND

Buckingham Palace is scrambling to deny fake statements published by Russian media claiming the King is dead, in the latest onslaught of wild rumours about the royal family.

Overnight, British embassies in Ukraine and Russia poured cold water on the rumours as reports circulated among media and on social media in both countries about the demise of the King.

“Reports about the death of King Charles III of Great Britain are fake!” the British embassy in Moscow posted on X on Tuesday.

“We would like to inform you that the news about the death of King Charles III is fake,” the embassy in Ukraine also wrote.

It followed widespread false reports of the monarch’s death circulating in Russia, where media agencies based the news on what appeared to be an official statement from Buckingham Palace.

The photoshopped image with the palace logo on the top read: “The following announcement is made by royal communications. The King passed away unexpectedly yesterday afternoon.”

It included Monday’s date, but appeared to have been modelled on the palace’s announcement of the late queen’s death.

It is not known where the fake statement originated.

The fake statement that likely launched the rumours. Photo: X/@mosaicmediax

“King Charles III of Great Britain has died at the age of 75, according to media reports,” Russian newswire Sputnik reported, according to Daily Mail.

“There is no information about this on the royal family website or in the British media.”

Minutes later, the article was reportedly updated following news the King was, in fact, well and truly alive. In an official statement to Russian state media outlet TASS, the palace said the 75-year-old monarch was “continuing with official and private business”.

Other outlets that reportedly ran the fake news included Russian state-owned news agencies RIA and online newspaper Mash. Mash also had to backtrack, with the addition that it “spoke too soon, the announcement turned out to be a fake”.

The death hoax was perhaps deemed credible given the King’s well-publicised health issues.

In January, the King revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer, although his specific diagnosis was not made public.

“During the King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted,” Buckingham Palace said at the time.

“Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.”

The King has continued to undertake state business and official paperwork, including weekly face-to-face meetings with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Talks are also underway for a potential trip to Australia later this year. If it goes ahead, it would be the first visit to Australia by a reigning monarch since 2011.

“There is an affection for King Charles, I know King Charles has a deep affection for Australia,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the ABC.

“A royal visit by King Charles and Queen Camilla later in the year would be a really, really tremendous and popular event and I do think that Australians would very much welcome seeing King Charles in our country.”

While the King has somewhat eased concerns over his health with his continued public appearances, speculation over the wellbeing of the Princess of Wales continues to grow as she recovers from an unspecified abdominal surgery.

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