Picture of Queen in Spitfire is fake

21 September 2022
What was claimed

A picture shows the Queen in the cockpit of a Spitfire plane.

Our verdict

The photo is not real and has been edited.

A picture appearing to show the late Queen Elizabeth II smiling in the cockpit of a small plane is being shared on Twitter and Facebook.

However, the picture is not real. It has been edited, and merges two pictures together. 

One is of the Queen watching her horse race at Newbury in 2015 and the other is from a photoshoot for a shoe brand, featuring a Spitfire pilot and flying instructor called Charlie Brown.

Whoever edited the two together slightly rotated the picture of the Queen so it matches up perfectly, creating a very convincing fake. 

If you search the phrase “queen Spitfire”, one of the first versions of the image that appears comes from a June 2017 article headlined ‘Queen Celebrates Royal Income Boost by Flying Her Favourite Spitfire Around Balmoral’ in a publication called the Daily Squib, which describes itself as a “curious satirical parody newspaper”.

The Daily Quib article above credits the picture to “ninj b3ta” and whoever edited it added the letters “NINJ” to the side of the plane. Another article on the site credits “Ninj - B3ta.com” for a clearly edited image. 

B3TA is a British image sharing website where users often share edited photos. In June 2017, four days before the Daily Squib article was published, a user called ‘Ninj’ shared the image on a board where users were encouraged to design “new headgear for her Majesty”. This is the earliest example of the image we could find online.

The same user appears to have shared it again more recently in 2022 during the Queen’s jubilee.

You can read more about how to verify what you find online by reading our guides to fact checking images and video.

Image courtesy of Peter Bromley

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