When it comes to the reign of Elizabeth, many love to say “long live the Queen.” But what if the Queen was already dead and we didn’t even know it?
That is the claim many internet users are making, due in large part to the fact that we haven’t seen or heard from the Queen much lately. But is that the only thing causing this conspiracy? And is there any chance that the Queen is secretly dead and the palace is covering it up?
To get to the bottom of this, we did a deep dive into this situation. Brace yourselves, because this one is somehow even weirder than it sounds!
What started the conspiracy?
Every conspiracy has to start somewhere. And this one began fairly innocuously when Queen Elizabeth stayed in a hospital overnight in October. Before that, she was using a cane in public.
Neither of these things should really be that surprising. The Queen will turn 96 this year, and plenty of people younger than that use canes. And as Us Weekly pointed out, her trip to the hospital was very straightforward. “Following medical advice to rest for a few days, The Queen attended hospital on [Oct. 20] for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today, and remains in good spirits,” the official statement from Buckingham Palace said.
Still, the Queen had only been hospitalized twice before in the last two decades, so any trip, for any reason, was always going to raise some eyebrows. And, of course, start some conspiracies.
Canceling multiple public appearances
If the Queen had continued her usual routine, this conspiracy about her secretly dying would have… well… died. But due to alleged mild health issues, the Queen ended up canceling multiple public appearances and generally avoiding the public eye,
Some think this is nothing to worry about. Royal expert Katie Nicholl said as much to Entertainment Tonight: “We understand the monarch very much wants to get back to work, but I think it’s going to be a case of making sure she really has made a full and complete recovery before courtiers start packing up her busy work schedule.”
Continuing, she said, “My understanding is that, at the moment, it is just about carrying out light desk work at Windsor [Castle], more virtual audiences and meetings, and really making sure that the queen is in tip-top health ahead of her June jubilee celebrations.”
That is very likely to be true. But a major world leader basically disappearing from public view after an unexpected hospitalization was always bound to cause conspiracy theories.
How poor phrasing made things worse
Sometimes, all it takes is a weird turn of phrase to breathe major life into a conspiracy. And that’s exactly what happened when MSN spoke to royal expert Penny Junor.
While MSN cited actual quotes from the expert, they summed up her thoughts by saying that “the Queen is entering a new phase.” And to make matters worse, they tweeted it out:
As you may or may not know, most conspiracy theories are composed of about 10% of its proponents believing it and the other 90% having a laugh. The idea that the Queen was entering some “new phase” that may or may not involve her still being alive took the internet by storm, resulting in a hilarious recap over on Know Your Meme.
While internet humorists had a field day speculating on what this “new phase” even means, others focused on Junor saying we may not see the Queen much until February 2022. All of a sudden, those “preliminary investigations” at the hospital in October seemed much more serious.
Technology makes us paranoid
More recently, the Queen recorded her annual Christmas greeting video, and you would think this would put this conspiracy to rest… right?
Sadly, this wasn’t the case. Internet conspiracy theorists immediately began speculating that this video could be a deep fake intended to temporarily make us think the Queen is still alive.
Why temporarily? Some speculate that Buckingham Palace wants to wait to announce her death until after the Queen has officially reigned for 70 years rather than the unintentionally funny 69 years. Others thought the palace simply wanted to wait until the holidays were over.
Speaking of the palace, Buckingham would be the ones to officially declare deep fakes of the Queen as digital forgeries. But if the palace is behind a fake, we would never know, and this kind of circular logic helps to keep conspiracy theories alive.
A sketchy family history
The idea that there would be official coverups of a royal death to coincide with a specific date may sound crazy. But like all good conspiracy theories, there is a historical germ of truth to this one.
As the Chicago Tribune reports, the royal doctor euthanized the Queen’s grandfather, King George V, with injections of morphine and cocaine. And he did so with the approval of the Royal Family so that news of the king’s death would be in the morning papers rather than the evening papers!
That was way back in 1936, and the world has changed a lot since then. But George’s death was officially reported as dying from bronchial issues combined with a weak heart; we only discovered the truth half a century later from the doctor’s memoirs. So the Royal Family lying about a royal death to manipulate the media is something that actually has historical precedent!
Some conspiracies just won’t die
Sure, there may be a precedent for the palace covering up details about royal deaths. But something else has a major historical precedent: conspiracies about Queen Elizabeth secretly dying!
In fact, they are downright regular. Reddit and Twitter users circulated conspiracies about the Queen being dead back in 2018 and 2019. As Town & Country reports, the latter conspiracy stemmed from a mean online prank that soon caused royal experts to reassure everyone Elizabeth was still alive.
As for this newest conspiracy? We feel confident that rumors of her passing have been greatly exaggerated!