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A BBC Journalist Tweeted That The Queen Had Died And Everyone Freaked Out

A spokesperson at Buckingham Palace told BuzzFeed News that Queen Elizabeth II attended her planned annual medical check-up on Wednesday, but tweets sent in error by a BBC journalist taking part in an unrelated training exercise caused quite a stir.

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The tweets were then swiftly deleted.

False Alarm: Have deleted previous tweets!!

She then followed up by saying: "False alarm to Queen's death!"

Twitter

She claimed the tweets were a "silly prank" carried out by someone using her phone, which she left at home.

phone left unattended at home. Silly prank, Apologies for upsetting anyone!

CNN Newsource, which provides content to 900 affiliate broadcasters, got very excited about it and put out this tweet...

CNN just tweeted, then deleted report Queen Elizabeth has been hospitalized

...before correcting it shortly afterwards.

Affiliates, please disregard our previous tweet about Queen Elizabeth. It was sent in error.

German newspaper Bild put out a story online...

.@BILD saying "Britain is concerned" about Queen in hospital and BBC reporting it - nothing on their website at all

...before withdrawing it and putting out a clarification minutes later.

Queen nicht im Krankenhaus. Buckingham Palast gibt bekannt, dass die Nachricht falsch ist.

The BBC said Khawaja was taking part in an internal test, rehearsing how the newsroom would react in the event of the Queen's death.

READ: BBC statement on journalist's erroneous tweets:

The organisation often carries out training exercises to prepare for the deaths of major figures. An internal staff email from the BBC's head of newsgathering, Jonathan Munro, seen by The Guardian, said: "This has been in the diary for some time – there is NO editorial reason why this is happening now.

"It's essential that we can rehearse these sensitive scenarios privately ... BBC tours have been suspended, and the blinds from public areas including reception and the media café will remain dropped. I'd also ask for your help in refraining from any external conversations and all social media activity about this exercise. Your continued discretion will be greatly appreciated.

"It's mainly a technical procedure looking at the use of the studio. It does not involve any sites outside New Broadcasting House and it will not include radio or online."

However, in what appears to be a complete coincidence, there was some truth to Khawaja's tweet about the monarch visiting hospital. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told BuzzFeed News:

"I can confirm that the Queen this morning attended her annual medical check-up at the King Edward VII Hospital in London. This was a routine, prescheduled appointment. The Queen has now left the hospital."

The whole thing was a bit confusing.

Just weird. Tweet that sparked the Queen death rumour is 100% correct. But appears reporter didn't know this at time.

The Queen, aged 89, continues to carry out a busy schedule and is due to be at a reception for new and retired Lord Lieutenants at Buckingham Palace tonight.

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Patrick Smith at patrick.smith@buzzfeed.com.

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