Get PolitiFact in your inbox.
If Your Time is short
- There’s no evidence to support the claim that a royal guard member standing by Queen Elizabeth II’s casket fainted because of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- It’s not uncommon for the guards, who must stand still for hours, to faint.
As a video clip of a royal guard member collapsing by Queen Elizabeth II’s casket on Sept. 14 circulated online the next day, some social media users suggested the incident was connected to the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Royal guard collapses during the queen’s funeral on live TV," one Instagram post said. Why the h*ll did this happen?" The post was punctuated with a syringe emoji.
"Agree," someone commented. "Booster!"
"Fully vaxxed," someone else said.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
PolitiFact tried unsuccessfully to reach someone at Buckingham Palace to ask about the post, but there’s no evidence to support the claim that the vaccine caused this royal guard member to fall.
The queen’s funeral is scheduled for Sept. 19 at Westminster Abbey. In the meantime, her casket is lying in state at Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster.
The casket is being watched over by royal guard members in ceremonial uniform, who stand still and stolid while keeping vigil. The soldiers rotate every 20 minutes, according to news reports. But those 20-intervals add up — the time standing could total six hours.
The guard member’s face-plant drew wide media coverage. The Daily Mail quoted a man who identified himself on social media as a Royal Air Force veteran helping guard the casket. He said that as far as he knew, his colleague recovered shortly after fainting.
Hello!, a lifestyle magazine covering royal and celebrity news, reported recently that fainting isn’t uncommon among royal guards. The Daily Express, a British tabloid, wrote in 2011 that the guards are even taught how to faint "to attention."
"True grit is displayed by those soldiers who can topple forward face first," the story said.
Claims that a guard to the queen’s casket fell because of the COVID-19 vaccine are unfounded. We rate them False.
Instagram post, Sept. 14, 2022
Daily Express, Royal guards who are taught how to faint, April 22, 2011
Hello!, Why do the Queen's royal guards faint?, Sept. 15, 2022
Tweet, Sept. 15, 2022
CNN, Royal guard member collapsed by Queen Elizabeth II's coffin, Sept. 15, 2022
Manchester Evening News, Royal guard suddenly collapses next to Queen's coffin on first night of lying in state, Sept. 15, 2022
Daily Mail, Beefeater holding vigil at Queen's coffin in Westminster Hall says royal guard who fainted off podium 'recovered shortly afterwards' as he tells how ceremonial role was an 'absolute honour,’ Sept. 15, 2022
Buckingham Palace, The State Funeral and Committal Service for Her Majesty The Queen, Sept. 15, 2022
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.