Several hours after the obituaries ran on Monday, the radio station behind the site blamed “a technical problem” and apologized for the error, which saw the death notices appear on its website and partner platforms including Google and Yahoo! News before being hastily taken down.
“We offer our apologies to the people concerned and to you who follow and trust us,” the station said in a tweet. “We are doing all we can to rectify this major bug.”
When speaking about the Queen, the station wrote: “The United Kingdom awoke an orphan this morning. Buckingham Palace officially announced the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen, who died of …, turned 94 on 21 April 2020.
“All Albion laments the disappearance of its sovereign who, at the head of her country since 1952, has constituted the immovable bedrock around which England’s postcolonial history has unfolded, full of sound and fury.”
In the event of the Queen’s unthinkable death from the coronavirus, the station recommended that the obituary include the words: “The coronavirus pandemic that has wrought havoc around the world is no respecter of crowned heads. In England … it has claimed the life of the monarch. The United Kingdom awoke an orphan this morning. Infected by the virus, Queen Elizabeth II, aged 93, did not survive associated pulmonary complications.”
Some of the individuals who were declared dead before their time laughed off the whole ordeal.
“Not everybody gets the chance to take note of one’s obituary while still alive,” former President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, wrote on Facebook after his obit went out.
Other influential names included in the mishap were Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Cuban leader Raúl Castro, Yoko Ono and legendary actress Sophia Loren.