The Queen Elizabeth Death Rumors Fully Explained

Rumors of Queen Elizabeth passing away are nothing new, but a report by gossip website Hollywood Unlocked on February 22 insisted that she is dead. The outlet's claim comes off the heels of news that the queen has tested positive for COVID-19.

"It is with our deepest regret to inform you that Britain's Queen Elizabeth has died," their report read. "Sources close to the Royal Kingdom notified us exclusively that Queen Elizabeth has passed away. She was scheduled to attend the wedding of British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, but was found dead."

The outlet also claimed that the queen has canceled the virtual engagements she had lined up as she was experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms. They did not disclose who their sources are, but Hollywood Unlocked CEO and founder Jason Lee shared on his personal Twitter account that the news is not by all means untrue. "We don't post lies and I always stand by my sources," he said. "Waiting for an official statement from the palace." While Lee may be standing by his sources, others are far less convinced.

A parliament official debunks claims that Queen Elizabeth died

On the morning of February 23, Hollywood Unlocked seemingly retracted their story on Twitter, blaming the post on an "intern journalist" who "published the draft post by mistake." The post also read, "Our deepest apologies goes out to the #RoyalFamily and all involved in this embarrassing situation." However, the confusion deepened when Jason Lee claimed that the retraction was from "some fake account," writing, "[W]e have not retracted our story. There has yet to be an official statement from the Palace."

While it's true that Buckingham Palace never actually weighed in regarding the rumors, Dayo Okewale, chief of staff in Britain's House of Lords, told BNO News on February 22 that there was no truth to the reports that Queen Elizabeth had passed. He also struck back at the rumors on his Twitter account. "Hollywood Unlocked posting the queen is dead????" he wrote. "There is no credible source that verifies this. #False." Broadcast journalist Ricardo Brooks also reiterated on his Twitter account that a different, more reputable news outlet will confirm the news of the queen's death if it happens to be true. "Queen Elizabeth is not dead," he said. "The @BBC will report it first, after her Private Secretary has advised the British Prime Minister. There's a very elaborate and well laid plan to announce her death." The well-laid plan in question is called "Operation London Bridge," and it has long been laid out even before Elizabeth began experiencing health issues.

What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies?

In the inevitable event that Queen Elizabeth passes, a plan called "Operation London Bridge" will commence. A detailed play-by-play by Politico notes that the day of her death will be called "D-Day" and the news will first be cascaded to the prime minister, the cabinet secretary, and some senior ministers and officials. Sir Christopher Geidt, who is the queen's private secretary, will be the one tasked to inform these parties. The code "London Bridge" will be used to prevent the word from getting out fast. Similarly, the term "Hyde Park Corner" was used when George VI passed 65 years ago to prevent switchboard operators from getting wind of the news.

The news of the queen's death will be announced to the public via the Press Association. Consequently, an elaborate social media strategy will also take place, with the royal family's website issuing a short statement, and the GOV.UK website and official social media accounts switching to a black banner. Other news and retweets will be banned for the time being.

The royal family and prime minister will then issue their respective statements, while the Ministry of Defense will conduct a gun salute. At approximately 6 P.M. the new king, King Charles, will be expected to address the nation.

Will Prince Charles immediately become king?

The Guardian, which also reported Operation London Bridge in great detail, underscored how "much of the work on London Bridge has focused on the precise choreography of Charles's accession." After all, he has waited far longer to ascend to the throne longer than any heir.

On D+1, the day after the queen's death and his first address to the nation, Charles is expected to be proclaimed king at 11 A.M. He will "carry out the first official duties of his reign, swearing to protect the Church in Scotland, and speaking of the heavy burden that is now his." Since royals can choose their name upon ascending to the throne, Prince Charles has the option to either change or keep his own name. If he does the latter, he will be known as King Charles III, while Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and second in line to the throne, will become the new Prince of Wales.

A source told Us Weekly that both Prince Charles and Prince William are excited about what's ahead of them and are planning to "guide each other" along the way. "[Charles] will ensure that his son is up to speed the ins and outs of the royal family on a deeper level and William will help Charles come up with new, fresh ideas about modernizing the monarchy," the insider noted. They want nothing more than "to be as fully prepared as possible" before assuming their new roles.