- REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Tatler magazine, a respected chronicle of the British upper classes, published an article falsely claiming that Prince Harry had proposed to Meghan Markle, then claimed they were only joking.
The publication tweeted on Thursday afternoon that they could exclusively reveal that Harry had proposed to Markle, his girlfriend of around one year.
It came at a time when royal watchers are on edge for an announcement many see as inevitable, and follows increased speculation in the British press about the pair’s relationship. For instance:
— Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) October 18, 2017
However, a spokeswoman for Kensington Palace, which handles press for Harry, denied that there had been any major developments in the relationship.
The post led to a page claiming the publication “came too soon” – an apparent sexual innuendo – then suggested a slew of alternative articles for readers to click through.
A spokeswoman for Condé Nast, the company which publishes Tatler, described the article as an “engagement post.”
The world's oldest magazine making a clumsy lunge for clicks? Not very becoming. pic.twitter.com/4TtMc941sV
— Jake Kanter (@Jake_Kanter) October 19, 2017
A statement from Tatler editor Kate Reardon said: “We have not removed the tweet because if you look at the page you will see that it’s patently a joke.”
Major news developments featuring the royal family are closely followed by a number of British outlets, and competition to run a story first, even by a matter of seconds, is fierce.
However, this haste has led to mistakes and false alarms.
In May of this year, The Sun’s website accidentally reported that Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, had died.
A partially-written story was published under the headline: “Prince Philip dead at 95, how did the Duke of Edinburgh die, etc etc.”
Later the same day it was announced that Philip was in fact alive, but would retire from public duties that August.
A different newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, repeated the blunder on the day of his retirement.
The newspaper published a story online entitled: “HOLD HOLD HOLD Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, dies aged XX,” but swiftly deleted it and apologised.