Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch of the British Empire, died earlier this week at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland. The news of her death amassed huge traction on social media platforms. While several lamented the passing away of the Queen, a section of the users were quick to highlight the British monarchy’s atrocities and their violent colonisation of several countries. In this backdrop, a disturbing video showing two women dressed in white gowns hurling what appears to be food items at a group of visibility malnourished and distressed children is going viral on social media platforms. Those who shared the clip claim that it shows Queen Elizabeth “throwing food at African kids.” Newschecker found the claim to be untrue.
Several Facebook and Twitter users shared the viral clip vehemently criticising the late Queen for mistreating and disrespecting the children.
Newschecker conducted Yandex reverse image search on the keyframes of the viral video which led us to a post on Russian website VK, dated October 7, 2021, carrying a shorter version of the footage claiming to show “Queen Elizabeth throwing food at kids.” The 13-second clip was titled ‘1899 | Indochina (Vietnam)’, while the Russian caption of the post roughly translates to “Distribution of alms, Vietnam, 1899.”
Following this, we conducted a keyword search for “Distribution, alms, Vietnam, 1899” on YouTube and found a video by History Upscaled, dated February 11, 2021. Titled ‘1899 – Indochina, Vietnam – Women throwing coins for children to pick (Upscaled & Colorized),” the 49-second clip displayed the same visuals as seen in the viral video. The ‘original content’ was credited to “Indochina, Vietnam (Gabriel Veyre, 1899).”
The description of the video read, “Gabriel Veyre was an early film director and photographer born in France, but mainly known for his work in Mexico, Indochina and Morocco. The film was originally shot by Gabriel Veyre in French Indochina (current Vietnam) depicting two French women tossing Sapèques into a crowd of Annamite (Vietnamese) children.”
Further, we translated keywords “Gabriel Veyre,” “movie,” “French Indochina,” “woman” and “food” in French with the help of Google translate and looked up the same on the search engine. This led us to an article by the Catalogue Lumiere website, titled “Annamese children picking up cash in front of the Ladies’ Pagoda.” Displaying a still from the viral video, the article stated that the clip was shot between April 28, 1899 – March 2, 1900 by Gabriel Veyre in French Indochina. It was screened on January 20, 1901 in Lyon (France).
Notably, Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926, over two decades after the video was shot and screened.
Additionally, the article identified the woman in the centre as Madame Paul Doumer, while the one on the left as her daughter.
Notably, Lumiere brothers were the pioneer manufacturers of photographic equipment who devised an early motion-picture camera and projector called the Cinematographe- the word “cinema” is derived from this name. Gabriel Veyre worked with their firm and travelled across several countries making films and taking photographs.
In addition, Marc Owen Jones, Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar, also clarified in a tweet that none of the women seen in the viral clip is Queen Elizabeth. He wrote, “A lot of ppl are sharing a video of a woman in colonial garb throwing food at children saying it’s of the Queen feeding African children. It’s not. The actual video was filmed in 1900 by Gabriel Veyre in what is now Vietnam. 26 years before Queen was born. (sic)”
Viral posts claiming to show the Queen throwing food at children in Africa are false. The video was shot in Vietnam over two decades before her birth.
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