Queen Elizabeth II
'The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery,' a statement from the palace reads. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

A fake BBC Twitter account falsely announced that the Queen had died on the evening of 29 December, sparking an uproar of confusion on the social media sharing site.

The account, which used the handle @BBCNewsUKl, tweeted a picture of Queen Elizabeth II with the words: "BREAKING: Buckingham Palace announces the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 90. Circumstances are unknown. More to follow."

It later added: "Love a Tuesday off if the queens dead, announce it before it's too late."

Though the account was suspended a while later, many people took to the social media site to address the fake news, with some suggesting it may have derived from a series of tweets posting tracks from the The Smiths album, The Queen is Dead.

One person tweeted today: "#mediablackout News that the Queen is dead is incorrect; it's Britain that died, partly because people believe anything they read," as another wrote: "Apparently the Queen isn't dead. False rumours spread across social media, first started by The Smiths."

A third added: "The queen isn't dead. It was tweeted from a fake BBC account. Stop getting my hopes up."

The fake news comes after the Queen's travel plans to Sandringham House in Norfolk were postponed after she recovered from a "heavy cold", and was absent from the Christmas church service on Christmas Day for the first time since 1988 due to the illness.

Buckingham Palace said that Her Majesty "continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery."

This is not the first time the Queen's death has been reported; BBC reporter Ahmen Khawaja wrongly tweeted: '"Queen Elizabeth has died". @BBCWorld" in 2015.

It was later clarified that Khawaja was watching a royal obituary rehearsal in the BBC studios, and that staff had been asked to not publish anything about it on social media. The journalist initially said that she was a victim of a "silly prank" before later admitting to the mishap.

The BBC's statement at the time said: "During a technical rehearsal for an obituary, tweets were mistakenly sent from the account of a BBC journalist saying that a member of the Royal Family had been taken ill. The tweets were swiftly deleted and we apologise for any offence."