Sep 8, 2022 - Economy

British press mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Queens death covered on websites

Photo illustration: Axios

Every major British news site led with the news of Queen Elizabeth II's death Thursday evening, with many dedicating their entire home pages to coverage of her historic reign and succession plan.

Why it matters: The Queen's death, along with Boris Johnson's dramatic resignation in July, is a major event for British tabloids and news outlets. But so far, news of the Queen's death has completely swallowed Johnson's resignation in terms of social media engagement.

  • News stories posted to social media about The Queen's death have received more than 4.5 million interactions (likes, comments, shares) compared to the 622,116 interactions in response to stories about Johnson's resignation the day he resigned.

Details: In the immediate aftermath of her death, websites of major news outlets posted pre-packaged stories, obituaries and photo albums commemorating the Queen's legacy.

  • Most sites led with photos of the late Queen in her later years. Some chose to highlight her earlier days as Queen, with pictures showing her wearing a crown in her youth.
  • Many outlets held a neutral tone in their coverage, noting the Queen's legacy as the longest-serving Queen while explaining next steps for her funeral and the succession process.
  • Some outlets, like the conservative GB News, took a more somber approach, calling the news "heartbreaking" while noting in its main headline that the nation was in mourning.

State of play: While most sites led with the news in a straightforward tone, some were a bit cheekier.

  • "Goodnight Ma'am," read the main headline of The Sun's main homepage.
  • Underneath the main headline read a second story titled "CALL OF DUTY: They shy daddy's girl who dedicated her life to her country after tragedy made her Queen."
  • "THE QUEEN IS DEAD," read the main headline of The Daily Mail's homepage.

What to watch: Others used the moment to hawk subscriptions.

  • "As the world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, gain an authoritative British perspective on a historic reign with our Royal experts," read a pop-up ad on The Telegraph that appeared when a user clicked on its main homepage story about the Queen's death.
  • "Subscribe now to read the full range of our award-winning journalism, including out in-depth reflection on the Queen's remarkable life and reign."
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