Express losing the Will to check stories?

The newsletter for swish London apartment building Dolphin Square, Tenant Times, was the cause of red faces at Hello! and the Daily Express ‒ who both followed up a spoof story about Prince William moving to the Pimlico address.

The story originally appeared on the Tenant-Times website on 1 April, but was then reprinted in the next print edition, for the benefit of those residents without internet access.

The Hello! magazine website still tells readers: “The second-in-line to the throne is to move into London’s upmarket apartment building Dolphin Square in Pimlico, setting up home in what will be his first flat as a young singleton.”

Adam Helliker had apparently managed to firm up the story with the help of a couple of anonymous sources: “One resident of the square, who prefers not to be named, says he has been aware for some time that ‘someone very special’ would be moving in. ‘It explains the extra security measures, such as loads of new CCTV cameras, which have just been fitted.’

“An unnamed Royal Aide says: ‘Dolphin Square is safe, central and anonymous. While he’s in the Army, William only needs an uncomplicated base in London for short periods. And the real point is that he does not yet want to live in any of the royal palaces where everyone would know exactly what he’s up to and who he invites back. He’s got a whole lifetime of that.’”

The fact that the story is still live on Express.co.uk is made slightly more embarrassing by the fact a reader comment attached to it says:

What a fascinating story. I thought that when I made it up and posted it on the Dolphin Square Tenants’ Association’s website on 1 April. It was reprinted in the Dolphin Square newsletter on 25 May as a service for those who hadn’t seen it.

It was preceded by letters from several tenants saying how much they enjoyed the joke. The picture of Wills was captioned: ‘Not moving into the Square.’ And at the foot of the story were the words: ‘Published on 1 April.’ Yes, it was an April Fool’s joke!

“One would have thought Adam Helliker would have observed the first rule of journalism: Always check your facts! Because the Sunday Mirror, The People and the Daily Mail checked, they were not left with egg on their faces, as was the Sunday Express and numerous websites and Hello! magazine.”

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