Brazilian Newspaper Gets Fierce Backlash For Publishing False News About The Queen

News moves at warp speed, meaning journalists must be prepared to break a story with a moment's notice. Sometimes, this can even mean writing about the deaths of notable people before the inevitable happens. Consequently, media outlets worldwide probably already have pieces drafted up about your favorite aging celebrities and monarchs, so that they can be one of the first to post. This is especially true of Queen Elizabeth II, who has been the reigning monarch in the United Kingdom for 70 years, according to Metro.

While there have been plenty of false reports that Queen Elizabeth II has died, The Guardian reported that one Brazilian newspaper accidentally published their obituary for Britain's longest-reigning monarch. On April 11, the Folha de São Paulo accidentally published their pre-written obituary for Queen Elizabeth II, announcing her death to millions of readers across the country. "Queen Elizabeth II, who for more than seven decades sat on the British throne and became a symbol of monarchy around the world, died this XXXXXXX, at XX years old, due to XXXXXXX," the article read (via The Brazilian Report). The piece also included notable redactions that the paper no doubt planned to fill in once the information became available.

Readers of the Folha de Sāo Palo reacted to the false news with hilarious memes

Shortly after the Folha de Sāo Paulo released the erroneous news of Queen Elizabeth's death, the outlet blamed the obituary's publication on a "technical error," according to The Latin Times. The  newspaper further defended its mistake, explaining that there was nothing abnormal about preparing "stories about possible and/or probable situations, such as the death of world leaders, celebrities and public figures." Even so, the explanation wasn't enough to stop the internet's reactions from flooding in. "How cute the Folha doesn't want to reveal how old the Queen was when she died," comedian and actor Gregorio Duvivier tweeted. BuzzFeed Brasil also poked fun at the news by posting a fake tweet from the monarch herself. "Guys, what's this story that I died? I was washing my hair..."  the outlet joked.

Ironically, Folha de Sāo Paulo's premature obituary came on the same day that Queen Elizabeth II spoke on her experience with COVID-19. The monarch previously tested positive for coronavirus in February 2022, and consequently missed a number of engagements, per Metro. During a virtual meeting with the Royal London Hospital to commemorate the opening of the Queen Elizabeth unit, she told the BBC News how her experience with the virus left her feeling "very tired and exhausted."

This isn't the first time an obituary for a British royal has been published by mistake

While it may seem unbelievable that a newspaper could publish an obituary prematurely, it's not the first time this has happened. Much like The Folha de Sāo Paulo's mistake, The Telegraph accidentally published a report on the death of death of Prince Philip in 2017, four years before his actual death in 2021(via the Evening Standard). The Telegraph's article was published with a similar template to Queen Elizabeth's obituary, including placeholders for the day of Prince Philip's death, as well as his age. The piece also featured the phrase "HOLD HOLD HOLD" before the headline "Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, dies age XX,” assumedly to sway editors from pressing publish. The outlet also published a tweet linking to the article, according to the Evening Standard.

At the time, a spokesperson for The Telegraph gave their sincere apologies "for the mistake that was made," which was subsequently "rectified immediately." The spokesperson further added that the newspaper would review their "publishing processes as a matter of urgency."