The Duke of Edinburgh’s retirement from official royal duties, which comes into effect today, has once again inspired journalists to prematurely announce his death.
In a clearly unfinished article published online at 10.28am this morning, The Telegraph ran with the headline: “HOLD HOLD HOLD Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged XX.”
The copy read: “The Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving consort to a monarch in British history, has died at the age of XX, Buckingham Palace has announced.
“Prince Philip, whom the Queen described as her “strength and stay” during her record-breaking reign, passed away XXXXXXX
“FILL IN DETAILS
“He will be given a royal ceremonial funeral in line with his wishes, which is expected to take place in seven days’ time.”
It follows a similar error by The Sun online in May this year when it published a piece claiming the Queen’s husband had died. It came as speculation grew about an “emergency meeting” at Buckingham Palace – which turned out to be news of the Duke’s impending retirement.
The Telegraph story included information on Prince Philip’s recent health scares and a look back on his life, as well as a note that “no official funeral details have been released by Buckingham Palace yet”.
The copy also contains a message to staff, saying: “This file needs to be a living file – and will serve Apple News as well as be the main news story. Please stick to the format below.”
A Telegraph spokesperson said: “We sincerely apologise for the mistake that was made this morning, which was of course rectified immediately.
“We will be reviewing our publishing processes as a matter of urgency”
The story has since been taken down and replaced with one headlined: “Prince Philip retires: Duke of Edinburgh to meet Royal Marines at final public event.”
The reporter was found to have committed “a serious breach” of guidelines by the BBC Trust in a review of the incident.