Did Queen Elizabeth really throw coins to poor children? Nope, the video in question was filmed in 1899
After news broke of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, social media users in some corners of the internet started sharing a video showing two women, one of them said to be the queen, throwing coins to children. Some people claimed that the video was filmed during the queen’s visit to an “African” colony of the former British Empire. However, it turns out this video doesn’t have any connection to Elizabeth II. It was filmed in Vietnam in 1899— twenty-seven years before she was born.
If you only have a minute…
- After news broke of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, certain Twitter accounts started sharing a video said to show the queen throwing coins to “African children”. These accounts say the video is proof that the queen had racist ideas and practices shaped by the colonial era.
- In actuality, this video doesn’t have any connection to Elizabeth II. It was from a film made by the Lumière brothers and filmed in Vietman between 1899 and 1900. The woman in the footage is Blanche Doumer. She was married to French politician Paul Doumer, who would go on to be the president of France between 1931 and 1932.
The verification, in detail
Just a few hours after news broke that Queen Elizabeth II had died, a number of English-language Twitter accounts, mainly based in Kenya or India, started sharing a video that they claimed showed the queen “throwing food to African children”. The footage, which has already garnered more than 100,000 views, were used to criticize Elizabeth II, who reigned over the United Kingdom from 1952 to 2022. For a number of years, she also ruled over several other countries, including Kenya, which didn’t gain its independence until 1963.
If you carry out a reverse image search (check out how by following this link), then you’ll see several posts featuring the same video but with a very different caption. For example, one YouTube channel posted this video on May 21, 2019 along with a caption explaining that the video was filmed in Indochina, a region made up of several French territories, by the Lumière brothers, who were early filmmakers.
If you run a search using the words "Lumière brothers Indochina" then you can identify the origin of the film. For example, it is part of the "Catalogue Lumière", a project run by a Swiss university that includes all the films published by the Compagnie Lumière between 1895 and 1905.
As the caption to the film indicates, it doesn’t have any connection to Elizabeth II. It was filmed in Vietnam, which was then a part of French Indochina, between 1899 and 1900, well before the queen was born.
These images, captured by Gabriel Veyre, show Blanche Doumer – the wife of French politician Paul Doumer, who would go on to be French president between 1931 and 1932 – and one of her daughters throwing coins to Vietnamese children.
Do you have a photo or a video that you’d like us to verify? Contact us by a message on the @InfoIntoxF24 Twitter account!
[UPDATE, 07/03/2023]: Historian Amaury Lorin, author of a biography of Paul Doumer, contacted the FRANCE 24 Observers team after this article was published to dispute the fact that these images show Blanche Doumer and her daughter Lucile. He contends that another photograph, showing them in 1905, "contradicts" the information published by the Catalogue Lumière. We have passed this information on to the administrators of the Catalogue Lumière project and will publish their response here.