A Brazilian paper of record has landed in hot water after it mistakenly ‘killed’ Queen Elizabeth II.
The Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, which was founded in February 1921, reported yesterday morning (Monday, 12th April) that Elizabeth II had died.
The article was quickly pulled, but not before news of the gaffe did the rounds on social media, causing the British monarch to trend online in Brazil.
The offending article was thought to be a standby story, to be updated when Elizabeth actually dies, and many details were left blank.
The headline read: “Elizabeth II, the longest-serving queen in British history, dies at XX”.
It was followed by the standfirst: “Discreet, the sovereign leaves as her greatest legacy the preservation of trust in the monarchy”.
Following the byline crediting Joao Batista Natali as the reporter, the first paragraph read: “Queen Elizabeth II, who for more than seven decades held the British throne and became a symbol of monarchy around the world, died this XXXXXXX (XX), at the age of XX, as a result of XXXXXXXX. Her eldest son, Prince Charles, is set to succeed her on the throne.”
Brazilian actor, comedian and poet Gregorio Duvivier posted a screenshot of the article for his 1.6 million Twitter followers, writing: “How cute that Folha didn’t want to reveal how old the queen was when she died.”
And Davy Albuquerque, the editor-in-chief of Conexao Politica, wrote for his 143,800 Twitter followers: “Folha ‘killed’ Queen Elizabeth with a ready-made article, but without the date, time and age. What a gaffe!”
He followed it up with the tweet: “It was not Queen Elizabeth who died, but Folha de S. Paulo’s journalism.”
In a statement, Folha de S. Paulo expressed regret over the blunder, writing: “Due to a technical error, Folha mistakenly published, on Monday morning (11), an obituary of Queen Elizabeth II, of the United Kingdom. It is customary in journalism to prepare texts in advance about possible and/or probable scenarios, such as the death of world leaders, celebrities and public figures. Folha regrets the error. The content has been taken down.”