|Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II & HRH Prince Philip|
Source: Buckingham Palace/The Royal Family
|The Queen is not amused.|
|"Well that joke went rather splendidly. Ha!"|
Source: Daily Mail
- Investigate the source: this story broke by a rag outlet in New Zealand. That alone should have been a huge red flag. When it comes to the British Royal Family, if rumours are not reported first by British newspapers, back away slowly.
- Investigate how the news is being released: any official news on the British Royal Family comes from either Buckingham Palace (on behalf of the Queen & Prince Philip), Clarence House (on behalf Charles & Camilla), or Kensington Palace (on behalf of William, Catherine, &= Harry). Furthermore, if the BBC hasn't announced it, then don't assume it to be true until they do.
- Understand the nature of rumours on social media: Twitter or Facebook is usually the fastest source, but it's not always the most accurate. Also note that just because a journalist sources Twitter, that doesn't mean it's correct. Without independent verification directly from the source or a credible person, assume the organization are a bunch of lazy twits.
- Look to credible royal social media accounts first: generally speaking, when it comes to royal news, the best people to believe are the Royal twitter accounts, followed by former staff members turned analysts, followed by official royal reporters, followed by experience royal bloggers. They have the expertise and experience of discerning news, understanding protocol, and spotting inconsistencies vs. some egg account with 6 followers or some guy who never posts about royalty. Good people to follow are Peter Hunt, Dickie Arbiter and Victoria Arbiter.
- Question anything that is reported as true without links or specific details: example is "...as reported on British radio." Well that is rather vague, isn't it? What specific station? What time? By Whom? Is there a link? "French media is reporting..." Who is their source? Link?
- Does the story itself seem unusual or have flaws? One weird aspect of this was "3 am emergency meeting" part. While it's not unusual for staff to be called to Buckingham Palace for a meeting, would that call take place at 3 am, even in death? Is it necessary for staff to be there prior to the release of news, when the head of the other households can just as easily transmit that information to the staff? These questions alone (along with other inconsistencies) is enough to warrant a pause in reaction.
- Understanding Protocols, Traditions, & Customs is mighty handy: Much ado was made about the 8 am release of news, and the "lowering of the flag to half-mast." But understanding protocol will help you understand why the former is not unusual, but the latter would be extremely unusual. Media announcements about news or itineraries tends to take place early in the morning anyways as a matter of course. Yes, there are exceptions where a release outside of that time would be warranted (such as a death of a foreign leader or a major tragedy), but those are exceptions, not the norms.
However, the lowering of the Sovereign's flag (a.k.a The Royal Standard) to half-mast would have been mighty unusual, as in non-existent. Why? Because the Royal Standard never lowers to half-mast, even in death of the particular monarch itself, because the Sovereign never dies as succession is immediate upon death.
If you *did* see a flag at half-mast, like with Princess Diana's death, it's because the Queen was not in residence, and thus the Union Jack was flown. Read this good article for more info.
As the Royal Standard is flown in the palace where the monarch is currently residing, as she was last night, the royal fandom knew that to be a bunch of hooey.