Manipulated photo of Meghan Markle circulates online after queen's death

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on September 13, 2022 at 20:04
  • 3 min read

A widely shared tweet claims a photo shows that Meghan Markle wore a shirt that said "The Queen Is Dead" after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. This is false; the image was digitally altered as early as March 2021, and the original picture shows the Duchess of Sussex and former actress in a plain gray coat.

"I can't believe Meghan went there," says a tweet published September 8, 2022.

The post shares what appears to be Markle in a white T-shirt sporting the artwork for "The Queen Is Dead," a popular album by English rock band The Smiths. The tweet accumulated more than 27,000 likes.

"The is real btw," the Twitter user falsely adds in a follow-up post.

In contrast to the derogatory tone of the posts, Markle's husband Prince Harry paid tribute to the queen after she died on September 8, while Markle joined him in the UK. The couple, who announced in 2020 that they were quitting their royal duties, appeared outside Windsor Castle on September 10, and they are expected to attend the queen's September 19 funeral.

Regarding "The Queen Is Dead" claim, reverse image searches indicate Markle's face was photoshopped on a background that has previously been used to market other T-shirt designs. The original photo of Markle was taken on March 23, 2018 in Belfast, Northern Ireland by a photographer affiliated with WireImage, a digital photo agency focused on celebrities. 

The picture shows Markle wearing a gray coat over a white shirt. People magazine featured the image in a March 2018 article.

Screenshot of a tweet taken September 12, 2022
Screenshot of Getty Images taken September 13, 2022



The altered image of Markle has circulated online since at least March 8, 2021, when it was shared on social media pages associated with Dead Posh UK, which was selling T-shirts with the same design. The UK website also sold mugs featuring the edited picture of Markle.

Johnny Marr, the guitarist for The Smiths, shared the photo March 10, 2021 on Twitter. Dead Posh UK told AFP in a Facebook message that a London digital artist created the image in Photoshop.

AFP sent inquiries to Buckingham Palace and Archewell, the US organization run by Markle and Prince Harry, but no comment was forthcoming.

AFP has fact-checked other misinformation about the queen's death here and here.

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