UK Government Denies That King Charles Has Secretly Died

From Russia With Love

The king is alive! Long live the king!

As the Daily Dot reports, Russian outlets including Sputnik have advanced the phony claim, based around a grainy and clearly-manipulated screenshot meant to be a Buckingham Palace memorandum that said, with none of the pomp and circumstance associated with the English royalty, that "the King passed away unexpectedly yesterday afternoon."

Other news outfits in the country, including the state news wire TASS and the Kremlin's Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper reported that their competitors had been pushing disinformation, as did the British embassy in Moscow, which took to X-formerly-Twitter to dispel the rumor.

"Reports of the death of King Charles III of Great Britain are fake," a translation of the embassy's X post, which was written in Russian, reads.

Palatial Concerns

This hilariously fake news item comes amid some unfortunate real news regarding the Windsors, which includes a cancer diagnosis for the king and the conspicuous public absence of Princess Kate Middleton following abdominal surgery earlier in the year.

Strangely, the palace itself has been embroiled in another mini-scandal related to manipulated media this month — although in this case, it looks like the royals were the ones doing the manipulation.

In the midst of speculation and confusion about Middleton's absence, Kensington Palace's social media accounts suddenly sprang to life, posting a photo of the princess and her three children with Prince William showed them all beaming brightly with joy.

As eagle-eyed netizens noted, however, those smiles were a bit too wide, and paired with other visual inconsistencies, it appeared mightily like the image had at very least been edited, if not with AI tools than with Photoshop at very least.

The hack job might not have been quite as obvious as the one used to spread the phony claim about King Charles, but it was overt enough the Associated Press issued a rare "kill notification" on the photo. Soon after, other major outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post followed suit in retracting the photo, and after the prince and princess' account claimed that Middleton herself had doctored the photo, AFP announced that it would no longer treat Kensington Palace as a trusted source.

As of now, it's unclear who did the doctoring on the fake royal memo about Charles' untimely death.

More on manipulation: Meta's Plans to Label AI-Generated Content Are a Sad Fart