That Viral Photo of Queen Elizabeth Shaking Justin Trudeau’s Hand is Totally Fake

That Viral Photo of Queen Elizabeth Shaking Justin Trudeau’s Hand is Totally Fake

Have you seen that photo of Queen Elizabeth II with her head hanging abnormally low as she shakes the hand of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? It’s been going viral over the past day on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. But it’s completely fake.

Yes, the 95-year-old Queen really did meet with Trudeau on March 7 at Windsor Castle, her new “permanent residence” according to the British press. She won’t be heading to Buckingham Palace anymore and greeted Trudeau on Monday in her first in-person meeting with a world leader since the pandemic began.

But the image that’s gotten so popular on social media sites has been photoshopped, and poorly at that. The real photo was taken by a pool photographer for the AFP news agency and distributed through other news organisations.

So-called “pool” photographers refer to when there’s not enough room in a particular location to comfortably accommodate a large group of photographers. Only one person is sent to the event and shares their photos with other news organisations.

Photo: Steven Parsons / Pool / AFP, Getty Images
Photo: Steven Parsons / Pool / AFP, Getty Images

You can see the original photo posted online at Getty Images and the Associated Press. The British Monarchy also published a copy of the photo on its own Facebook page.

There are also other photos showing Trudeau and the Queen together from Monday. And you can clearly see the queen in a less “hunched” position in the other images taken during their visit.

Photo: Steve Parsons / Pool / AFP, Getty Images
Photo: Steve Parsons / Pool / AFP, Getty Images

It’s not clear what the two talked about during their meeting, though Prime Minister Trudeau is in Europe to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

But why did someone alter this particular image to make the Queen look more frail than she really is at the moment? It’s likely because there’s a popular conspiracy theory online that’s gained steam claiming Queen Elizabeth actually died in late 2021 or early 2022.

The Queen had an overnight stay at the hospital on October 20, 2021, though it’s not clear what she was treated for, and had already been seen using a cane earlier that month. Some conspiracy theorists online believe that’s when she died and was either replaced with a look-alike (this one is common with QAnon-obsessed weirdos) or all photos of her after the hospital visit are fake.

The Queen contracted COVID-19 on Feb. 20, 2022, in yet another instance that got internet conspiracy theorists interested in the possibility that her death would be announced shortly. But she recovered, thanks to being vaccinated.

Queen Elizabeth II is 95 years old and could die at any moment, just as anyone could. But she’s alive and well, as far as we know right now. And even though she can look pretty frail at times, stay sceptical of photos online that appear out of the ordinary. This one already has thousands of retweets and tens of thousands of likes. But it’s completely fake.

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