BBC journalist Ahmen Khawaja tweeted that Queen Elizabeth had died overnight, and not surprisingly, it caused a bit of a stir.
First of all, the Queen is not dead, so don’t go tweeting it.
But she was in hospital. At King Edward VII Hospital in London, and that’s a large part of the reason why Khawaja’s day suddenly went rapidly downhill.
The BBC was, at the time, rehearsing how its systems roll out in a major breaking news event. They do it every year.
They chose “the Queen’s death” as a likely candidate, and just happened to be using King Edward VII hospital as the venue from where news of the imaginary death would break.
Insiders say Khawaja overheard the “news” and tweeted this:
Khawaja was not taking part in the exercise. Within minutes, she followed up her breaking news tweet with this:
Here’s the unfortunate twist. Queen Elizabeth really was in King Edward VII Hospital at the time. She goes there every year about now for her annual checkup.
A couple more tweets followed soon after, but the damage had been done.
The BBC later apologised for the tweet:
“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. The tweets were swiftly deleted and we apologise for any offence.”
Khawaja, for her part, is claiming she left her phone unattended and had been the victim of a “silly prank”.
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