The Real Story Behind the Viral Photo of Queen Elizabeth Giggling Next to Prince Philip in Uniform

Stephanie Petit
·2 min read

A sweet photo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip went viral following Philip's death on Friday at the age of 99 — but there's some misinformation regarding the story behind the snap.

The image shows Queen Elizabeth giggling next to Prince Philip, who is dressed in his military uniform complete with a tall bearskin hat. The photo circulated on social media with a caption saying that Prince Philip "pranked" the Queen by dressing up as a palace guard, causing her to laugh when she noticed it was actually her husband under the hat.

However, that's not the case.

Snopes dug up newspaper articles that gave the real reason for the monarch's giant grin. The picture was taken by Chris Young of The Associated Press in 2003 at a ceremonial review of the Grenadier Guards at Windsor Castle, and the Queen was laughing not at Philip, but at an unexpected swarm of bees interrupting the ceremony.

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Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Prince Philip

The Windsor Star reported that a former sergeant major was stung in the forehead, marking the only injury from the commotion. The Edmonton Journal added that a beekeeper was brought in to remove the insects, then the ceremony went on as planned.

Prince Philip has actually worn the ceremonial dress on numerous occasions, including Trooping the Colour ceremonies, which publicly celebrate the Queen's birthday each year.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth is coping with the death of her husband of 73 years, but former press secretary to the Queen Charles Anson tells PEOPLE that the 94-year-old monarch was prepared for Philip's death after years of health troubles.

"She would have thought about this moment several times, and her way would be to remain as steady and as calm as possible," Anson says. "That comes naturally to her through her temperament and her experience."

He adds, "In my years of working for her she was always calm, no matter what was going on. But for any human being, this is a very cathartic moment."

Tim Graham/Getty Images Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth

News of Prince Philip's death was announced on Friday.

"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the palace said in a statement. "His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle."

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They continued, "The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

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A funeral will be held Saturday at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.