Fact Check: Did Nostradamus Predict When Queen Elizabeth II Would Die?

Following Queen Elizabeth II's September 8 death aged 96, a claim was widely circulated—and quickly debunked—that her passing was predicted by The Simpsons, which has been credited with portraying a number of future events.

While the long-running animated favorite may not have had a hand in guessing when the British sovereign would pass away, it has been claimed that the famed Nostradamus correctly predicted when she would die way back in the 1500s.

Michel De Nostradame, better known as Nostradamus, was a French astrologer and physician who lived in the 16th century. He left some poetic prophecies that some modern-day believers contend have foreseen some modern-day tragedies, including Adolf Hitler's tyrannical reign and the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

Did Nostradamus predict Queen Elizabeth's death?
Queen Elizabeth II is pictured near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020. A portrait of of Michel de Nostredame, popularly known as Nostradamus (1503-1566), is pictured inset. Following the Queen's death, claims have circulated online that Nostradamus predicted when she would pass away. Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images

The Claim

On September 16, video creator Michael Summers shared a video on Facebook, which claimed that Nostradamus foresaw the death of the Queen.

It was also claimed in the 3-minute video—which has been flagged by Facebook as containing false information—that Nostradamus predicted King Charles III would have a short reign due to public "resentment," with an "unexpected man" replacing him. The series of events, it was claimed would lead to the end of the monarchy.

According to the clip, the source of the information was Nostradamus' 1555 book Les Prophéties, or The Prophecies, a collection of poetic quatrains allegedly predicting future events.

The prediction, claimed the video, was interpreted by Mario Reading, a British author who passed away in 2017.

Over the past week the claim has resurfaced, and was reported in a number of British and U.S. media outlets.

The Facts

Several outlets, including The Sun and The New York Post, published articles that suggest Nostradamus had prophecized the exact year of Queen Elizabeth II's passing.

Some of the social media posts in reference to the story sourced the claim to Reading's book, which in turn quoted Nostradamus.

In Nostradamus' quatrain in question, the Frenchman wrote the following:

Because they disapproved of his divorce

A man, who, later, they considered unworthy

The people will force out the King of the Islands

A man will replace him who never expected to be king

Reading's interpretation of this quatrain, which was featured in the author's 2005 book Nostradamus: The Complete Prophecies for the Future, gave a decidedly detailed decoding of what he believed those facts to mean.

"This quatrain will come as no surprise to the British people, and it has wide implications," Reading wrote in the book, excerpts of which have been shared on Twitter and other platforms. "The preamble is that Queen Elizabeth II will die, circa 2022, at the age of around ninety-six, five years short of her mother's term of life."

Reading continued: "Prince Charles will be crowned in her stead, and become 'King of the Islands,' the implication here being that he is no longer king of the other regions in the world over which his mother reigned—Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.—which will have, in the interim, become republics.

"Prince Charles will be seventy-four years old in 2022, when he takes over the throne, but the resentments held against him by a certain proportion of the British population, following his divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales, still persist.

"The pressure on him is so great, and his age so much against him, that Charles agrees to abdicate in favor of his elder son, Prince William."

Summarizing the interpretation, Reading added that "King Charles III of England, weary at the persistent attacks on both himself and his second wife in the twenty-five years since the death of his first wife, Princess Diana, decides to abdicate in favor of Prince Williams."

It is not clear how Reading came to interpret the date being 2022, though it may be due to the passage being in "Verse XXII". However, there is no evidence that the verses numbers in the Prophecies match up with the respective years in the calendar.

While the ten sections are indeed labeled "Centuries," there is nothing to indicate that verse numbers correspond to respective years. In fact, some predictions that featured specific dates—such as years "1727" and "1999"—were mentioned in verses III.77 and X.72, respectively.

Furthermore, the prophecy mentioned by Reading was featured in the final of the 10 Centuries, which matches up neither to the chronological framing of the Prophecies (if the count begins from his time of writing, mid-XVI century, then verse X.22 would represent the XXV real-life century); nor to year 3797, proclaimed as the final year of the prophecies by the author himself in the preface.

So while Reading's book did correctly predict that Queen Elizabeth II would pass away in 2022 aged 96—with her eldest son, King Charles II, succeeding her—Nostradamus did not make any mention of the monarch in his credited quatrain. Nor is there any definitive link between the year of queen's death and the number of the quatrain in question.

Despite the Facebook video proclaiming that Nostradamus "accurately predicted Queen Elizabeth II's passing," it is actually Reading's interpretation of the astrologer's work that has been quoted.

Beyond the quatrain in question, an English translation of Les Prophiétes shows no direct reference to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, or any other queen.

Notably, though the date appears to have been predicted correctly, there's no evidence that any of the additional claims in Reading's analysis of the quatrain, as of yet, have come to pass.

Historians have in the past noted that Nostradamus' reputation is largely manufactured by modern day audiences, who have tried to retrofit his vaguely phrased verses onto modern events and narratives.

The Ruling

False

False.

The claim suggesting Nostradamus predicted the exact year of the death of Queen Elizabeth II is incorrect. The "prediction" was in fact a subjective interpretation of Nostradamus' writings by another author, in a book that was published in 2005.

FACT CHECK BY NEWSWEEK

Nostradamus' book "Les Prophiétes"
Exhibition on the writings of Nostradamus at the municipal library of Lyon in France on February 20, 1997. Nostradamus has often been credited with correctly predicting major events. Stephane Ruet/Sygma via Getty Images