London: A BBC journalist is in trouble after she announced on Twitter of Queen’s death after apparently mistaking a rehearsal of the announcement of her death for the real thing.
Queen Elizabrth has died (sic)’:@BBCWorld” was the tweet by broadcast journalist Ahmen Khawaja that triggered a flurry of retweets and left BBC red faced, forcing it to apologise, Telegraph reported.
It was sent during one of the corporation’s regular rehearsals for royal deaths, but according to some insiders Khawaja apparently overheard the rehearsal and tweeted what she thought was breaking news.
Khawaja, 31, had previously sent a tweet saying: “BREAKING: Queen Elizabeth is being treated at King Edward 7th Hospital in London. Statement due shortly: @BBCWorld.”
By sheer coincidence the Queen was, at the very same hospital for her annual check-up at the time, though sources said Khawaja did not know that.
Khawaja’s tweets on the Queen’s passing were re-tweeted several times by her followers before she realised the mistake and deleted it, tweeting: “False alarm: Have deleted previous tweets!”
She also said it was the result of a “silly prank” after her phone was left unattended, adding: “Apologies for upsetting anyone!”
By then, however, rumours of the Queen’s death had spread so quickly that Buckingham Palace felt it had no choice but to issue a statement denying the Queen was ill.
The BBC was carrying out a royal death rehearsal, and its head of newsgathering, Jonathan Munro, had told the staff to keep the fact of the rehearsal off social media.
The BBC later apologised for the tweet, saying in a statement: “During a technical rehearsal for an obituary, tweets were mistakenly sent from the account of a BBC journalist saying that a member of the Royal Family had been taken ill. The tweets were swiftly deleted and we apologise for any offence.”
The BBC said an investigation, as part of its disciplinary process, would now take place.
The BBC carries out dress rehearsals for the event of the death of the Queen or other senior members of the Royal family once a year.