Fact-checking images of Queen Elizabeth II

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8th, several fake or out of context images surfaced on social media.

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, the royal family’s residence in Scotland.

VERIFY has answered your questions and reviewed images and videos of the Queen that have surfaced online since news of her death was announced.

More from VERIFY: Irish dancers fail to celebrate Queen’s death in viral video from Buckingham Palace

THE SOURCES

IMAGE 1

Does this photo show the late Prince Philip pranking the Queen?

The photo captioned: “Prince Phillip tries to prank Queen Elizabeth by disguising himself as a guard on his way to Buckingham Palace. We could see a smile on the Queen’s face,” was shared on Twitter after the Queen’s death.

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WHAT WE FOUND

That's wrong.

Using RevEye, a reverse image search tool, VERIFY was able to confirm that the photo is real and shows Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, in uniform. But he played no tricks on the queen. The two responded to a swarm of bees.

The photo was taken in 2003 as the Queen inspected a regiment of the Grenadier Guards, the British Army, at Windsor Castle. Both Getty Images and The Associated Press obtained the photo through pooled footage, which is footage provided by a journalist or organization on behalf of a larger group.

The Duke was wearing a military uniform at the time of the photograph, having been a Colonel in the Grenadier Guards for more than 40 years.

“Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh enjoy the spectacle as a swarm of bees causes concern outside the Queens Company Review at Windsor Castle. A beekeeper removed the swarm that had gathered on one of the dignitaries’ chairs before the ceremony,” reads the pool’s caption.

When the Duke died in April 2021, the British Army published a tribute to him on their YouTube channel. He can be seen in his formal uniform on a number of occasions.

More from VERIFY: Yes, the likeness of King Charles III. will appear on money in the UK

PICTURE 2

Did a McDonald’s kiosk really show a portrait of the Queen?

In a viral photo that has been liked more than 30,000 times on Twitter, the Queen’s image appears at a McDonald’s order kiosk along with the text “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022.”

Not only are people sharing the photo on social media, but the New York Post also shared a photo of the kiosk in an article criticizing how some brands like McDonald’s have been handling the news of the Queen’s death.

WHAT WE FOUND

That's wrong.

Using reverse image tools, VERIFY confirmed that this photo was edited to appear as if the Mcdonald’s kiosk contained a photo of the Queen.

The actual photo of the McDonald’s kiosk was taken in 2017 and does not show Queen Elizabeth. It was posted in a travel blog about McDonald’s “evolution of the restaurant”.

The actual photo has a green background with options for a McDonald’s customer to choose whether to dine in or dine out, as well as to choose the language in which to place the order.

PICTURE 3

Does this photo really show a Nintendo 2DS XL with text on the console saying the game won’t work until the royal mourning is over?

On the video game screen, a photo of the queen appears on the top screen. The bottom screen has the Nintendo logo and the words: “Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022. This device is not available during the royal mourning period and will remain so until Monday 19th September.”

WHAT WE FOUND

That's wrong.

In an email to VERIFY, a Nintendo UK spokesman said the photo of the Nintendo was fake.

“I can confirm that the photo in the tweet is fake and the person either digitally altered the image or manipulated their Nintendo 2DS XL to display this message,” the rep said.

VERIFY reached out to the Twitter user who posted the photo of the Nintendo and received no response at the time of publication.

VERIFY was able to confirm that the screen image was edited on the Nintendo by performing error level analysis using FotoForensics, an open-source image analysis tool. Error level analysis identifies areas in a photo that have different levels of compression. When different elements are added to an image (e.g. an overlay), the compression level changes.

“With JPEG images, the entire image should be roughly the same height. If a section of the image has a significantly different level of error, it likely indicates digital modification,” explains FotoForensics on the website.

The photograph used in the above advert is currently on the Royal Family’s website and was used in the announcement of the Queen’s death.

IMAGE #4

Has Queen Elizabeth been pictured with former President Donald Trump while wearing a sash that reads “TRUMP WON”? The photo was shared in pro-Trump channels on the messaging app Telegram and has more than 256,000 views.

The photo will too shared online by some who believe Trump did not lose the 2020 election.

WHAT WE FOUND

That's wrong.

Former President Donald Trump and the late Queen have been photographed together several times, but this particular photo was edited.

The original photo was taken during Trump’s visit to Buckingham Palace in June 2019. In the picture, the Queen wears a blue sash with no text on it.

On September 9, Trump shared the original unedited photo on his social media platform Truth Social.

More from VERIFY: Yes, Charles automatically became King of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth II

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