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What do the COVID-19 vaccine, superstar musician Prince and lizards have to do with Queen Elizabeth II?
Nothing. But conspiracy theorists claim otherwise.
After the news broke Sept. 8 about the queen's death, social media erupted with baseless rumors — some wacky enough to make us do a double-take. Here are five we've debunked so far.
We fact-checked Facebook posts sharing a viral QAnon claim that the queen had died "a while ago," long before Sept. 8. The theory held that her death was a part of a dark conspiracy involving pedophilia or child-trafficking.
Elizabeth was photographed on Sept. 6 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, as she formally appointed Liz Truss to be the new prime minister of the United Kingdom. The queen died at the castle two days later. And though unsupported conspiracy theories promoted by adherents of QAnon have shared the unfounded claim that she has been linked to pedophilia, the claim has no basis in reality.
We’re referring to the purple-attired American music legend, not one of Elizabeth’s family members. A Sept. 8 Instagram post claimed that Prince, who died April 21, 2016 — which is also Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday — was put to death as a birthday gift.
That’s wildly false. Prince died from an accidental drug overdose. Health officials in Minnesota, where he died, ruled that he had unknowingly taken a counterfeit Vicodin that was laced with fentanyl. Elizabeth was in a different country, making public appearances in Windsor, England, to celebrate her 90th birthday.
This wasn’t the first time this type of claim has surfaced about someone famous. After Queen Elizabeth II’s death, unfounded rumors on Twitter said she had been poisoned by the vaccine.
Those claims lack evidence — there was no mention of the COVID-19 vaccine when her death was announced. She and her husband were vaccinated in 2021, and she was infected with COVID-19 a year later. Media reports about her health before her death did not mention that she had been endangered or harmed by the vaccine.
That ridiculous claim came from a Sept. 8 Instagram post that featured the logo of Rap TV, a hip-hop news outlet. It’s unclear whether the post was meant as a joke. But, in all seriousness, Detroit did not factor into her death. The royal family reported that she died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She hasn’t been to the U.S. in more than a decade.
A Facebook video posted on Sept. 8 shared an old, fictitious claim that Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the late Prince Philip, were lizards. It comes from a conspiracy theory that the royal family are a part of a line of reptiles from the constellation Draco, and that they have reptilian blood.
Time magazine reported in 1998 that the claim stemmed from a book called "The Biggest Secret." It was authored by a former BBC journalist who claimed that Queen Elizabeth, George Bush, the Clintons and others were reptiles.
The claim has spread to other public figures as well. We debunked a false claim that a snake could be seen coming out of President Joe Biden’s jacket, thus making him a lizard. But the "snake" was actually a rosary Biden wore in memory of his late son.
PolitiFact, Queen Elizabeth’s passing is not part of a conspiracy, Sept. 9, 2022
Associated Press, Liz Truss is now officially the U.K.'s prime minister after meeting with the queen, Sep. 6, 2022
PolitiFact, Baseless conspiracy theory ties Prince’s death to Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, Sept. 9, 2022
Washington Post, Queen Elizabeth II marks 90th birthday with public appearances, corgi cake, April 21, 2016
PolitiFact No, Ray Liotta didn’t die from the COVID-19 vaccine, June 9, 2022
PolitiFact, Claims Queen Elizabeth died because of the COVID-19 vaccine spread without evidence, Sept. 8, 2022
Facebook post, Sept. 9, 2022
PolitiFact, Reptilian conspiracy theory continues after queen’s death, Sept. 12, 2022
Time Magazine, The Reptilian Elite, accessed Sept. 12, 2022