The Queen was not involved in disappearance of Indigenous children from Canadian school

1 June 2022
What was claimed

The Queen was found guilty in a missing children case.

Our verdict

There's no evidence for this. This claim appears to be a conspiracy theory stemming from real cases involving missing children who attended Indigenous residential schools in Canada.

A Facebook post falsely claims that the Queen was found guilty in a missing children case.

The post states that a whistleblower was “incarcerated” for “daring to ask superiors about Queen Elizabeth’s outstanding arrest warrant”, which was supposedly issued in 2013 by the International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels and led to the Queen and Prince Philip being “found guilty in the disappearance of 10 native children from the Catholic-run Kamloops residential school in British Columbia”.

The Queen and Prince Philip were not found guilty in any real court case about missing children, nor issued with a real arrest warrant in connection with the disappearance of children from Kamloops Residential School, which the couple did not visit in 1964 as the post claims, or any other school. The International Common Law Court of Justice in Brussels is not a real court or a legally recognised body. There is no evidence of the whistleblower mentioned in the post being real either. 

It is, however, sadly true that there is evidence that the remains of a large number of missing Indigenous children may be buried in unmarked mass graves on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential School in Canada. There is no suggestion that the British Royal Family had any involvement.

No record of the Queen having visited Kamloops Indian Residential School

The post claims that 10 “native children” disappeared from Kamloops Residential School after going on a picnic with the Queen and Prince Philip during a visit on 10 October 1964.

Kamloops Indian Residential School was one of a number of residential schools to which Indigenous children were forcibly sent during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as part of attempts by the Canadian government to assimilate the country’s Indigenous population. Children who attended the schools have reported experiencing serious mistreatment and abuse.

The Canadian government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission says that more than 4,100 children have been identified as having died while attending the schools. In 2021, it was reported that evidence had been found suggesting that the remains of as many as 200 children may be buried in the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, which closed in 1978.

Claims that the Queen and Prince Philip may have had a role in any missing children cases are, however, baseless. In fact, while the Queen has carried out a number of trips to Canada as the country’s head of state, there are no reports of her or Prince Philip having ever visited Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The Queen did visit Canada in October 1964, when the incident referred to in the post is said to have taken place. However, she did not travel to British Columbia during this trip.

The Queen has visited the city of Kamloops at least twice, in 1959 and 1971, but multiple fact checking organisations have found no evidence of a picnic or an appearance by the Queen at the school during these trips. Prince Philip visited Kamloops on a separate occasion in 1983, five years after the school had closed.

This false claim has been around for years

Versions of this particular claim have been circulating on Facebook since at least 2018, and it was traced by PolitiFact back to an unsubstantiated letter published on a forum in 2010.

The Facebook post claims that a whistleblower—a British soldier named Vivian Cunningham—was “incarcerated 8 months ago” in May 2014. Additionally, the post states that the Queen and Prince Philip were found guilty “after nearly a year of litigation” having been supposedly issued with an arrest warrant in 2013. These dates, along with the fact that Prince Philip died in 2021, suggest that the text seen in this post was initially written some years ago, most likely in late 2014. There are no reliable reports to back up either of these claims.

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