A French radio station has issued an apology after accidentally declaring The Queen, along with a number of other public figures, to be dead Monday morning.
Her Majesty is just fine, but France’s RFI Radio mistakenly published a range of obituaries on their website for some older celebrities and world leaders, including The Queen, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, football star Pele, Cuban leader Raul Castro and actors such as Clint Eastwood, Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot.
The radio station issued an apology on their Twitter account for raising alarm amongst their audience. “A technical problem has resulted in the publication of numerous obituaries on our site,” the tweet read. “Our technical teams are mobilized to rectify this major bug.”
In another tweet, RFI Radio said the station wanted to “apologize to the people concerned as well as to you who follow us and trust us.”
It’s common practice to have obituaries written in advance for public figures such as The Queen so they can be issued swiftly and there’s even a codename for the plan that will be carried out when Her Majesty eventually passes on: Operation London Bridge.
The plan, however, has caused alarm on more than one occasion, including in late 2019 when a WhatsApp message was shared that was part of a Royal Navy practice drill for Operation London Bridge.
The message proclaimed Her Majesty to have suffered a fatal heart attack and included details on what officers should pack in their kit bag. A confused officer, not realizing it was a drill, shared the messages and caused enough panic that the Navy issued a statement confirming it was just a practice event.
“These exercises are conducted on a regular basis and no significance should be drawn from the timing of the exercise,” the Royal Navy said. “While the exercise was conducted properly, we regret any misunderstanding this may have caused.”
In 2015, a BBC staffer accidentally posted tweets that The Queen had been taken to hospital and another proclaiming she had died. The tweets were deleted, but not before being picked up by several other major news outlets and spreading across social media.
“During a technical rehearsal for an obituary, tweets were mistakenly sent from the account of a BBC journalist saying that a member of the Royal Family had been taken ill,” a spokesperson said. “The tweets were swiftly deleted and we apologize for any offense.”