FACT CHECK: Did A Piccadilly Circus Billboard Show This Message From Queen Elizabeth To Narendra Modi?
An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a billboard at London’s Piccadilly Circus displaying a message from Queen Elizabeth II thanking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending COVID-19 vaccines to the U.K.
The image has been digitally altered. The queen did not make the statement attributed to her in the image.
The U.K. government said in early March that it would receive 10 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), according to Reuters. BBC News reported March 18 that SII had delivered 5 million doses to the U.K., while the remaining doses had been delayed due to India curtailing exports of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines amid increased infection rates in the country.
In the image, a billboard in London’s Piccadilly Circus appears to show a message from the British monarch that reads, “Thank you PM Modi for sending us COVID-19 vaccines. You are a good boy.” Multiple Facebook users shared the image, seemingly believing it was real, with one user commenting, “Motherly thanks by Queen Elizabeth!” (RELATED: Did Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla Refuse To Take His Company’s COVID-19 Vaccine?)
The picture, however, has been digitally manipulated. In the original photo, the billboard’s message contains a quote from the queen’s April 2020 address about COVID-19 that reads, “We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.” Ocean Outdoor, the U.K. advertising company that operates the billboard, published the original picture last year.
Other photos on Ocean Outdoor’s website show the company displayed different excerpts from the queen’s speech. The company states on its website that it displayed various quotes from the queen’s speech on the billboard from April 7 to April 19 last year and that it was the “first time the digital screen has carried a direct message from Her Majesty The Queen.”