​Long live the Queen? BBC journalist accidently declares monarch’s illness on Twitter

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett
Buckingham Palace has been forced to deny that Queen Elizabeth II is suffering from ill health after a BBC reporter mistakenly tweeted that the 89-year-old monarch had died.

The reporter, Ahmen Khawaja, of the BBC’s Urdu service, initially said the tweet had been sent out as a “silly prank” from her mobile phone, which she had left at home, but the BBC was carrying out a “category one obituary rehearsal” at the time, which could also have accounted for the mistake.

The BBC apparently tried play down her claim, saying that that the tweet about the Queen "being taken ill" was an error. Their correction made no reference to a tweet about "death".

It emerged later on Wednesday morning that the correspondent had in fact tweeted about the monarch dying, but had covered it up with a story about her phone being left at home, which she also then retracted.

There are only four members of the Royal Family who are privileged enough to have a category one obituary: the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge.

The tweet claimed that the Queen had been admitted to the King Edward VII’s Hospital, a private facility in Marylebone, London.

Khawaja deleted the tweet, but not before a number of international news agencies had shared the erroneous story.

Both CNN and a German news station BiLD both sent out tweets about the monarch’s ill health.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen had indeed visited a hospital on Wednesday, but only for a “routine” and “pre-scheduled” check-up.

“I can confirm that the Queen this morning attended her annual medical check-up at the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London,” the palace said. “This was a routine, pre-scheduled appointment, the Queen has now left hospital.”