Fact Check: Was Queen Elizabeth II Statue Defaced With the Word 'Parasite'?

The British Royal Family has come under criticism in the wake of the televised interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, which aired on Sunday.

Among some of the explosive claims which arose from the broadcast, hosted by Oprah Winfrey, includes how at least one member of the Royal Family expressed "concerns" about the potential skin tone of the Duke and Duchess' son, Archie.

Elsewhere, the duke said the relationship with his family has become so strained that his father, the Prince of Wales, is not returning his calls and Meghan said she had thoughts of self-harm and suicide while she was pregnant with her first child because of the intense scrutiny she received in the tabloid press.

Two days after the interview aired in the U.S., Buckingham Palace released a statement stating "the whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan."

The Palace added: "The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

The Claim

In the days after the Meghan and Harry interview aired, a number of photos showing a statue of Queen Elizabeth II in Kent, South England, with the word "parasite" painted on the bottom were shared on social media.

One tweet in particular showing the vandalized statue has been retweeted more than 20,000 times since it was posted on Tuesday, March 9.

“Parasite” painted on a statue of Queen Elizabeth in Kent, England pic.twitter.com/3YrH0D9glE

— K.Diallo ☭ (@nyeusi_waasi) March 9, 2021

The Facts

A statue of the Queen was indeed vandalized with paint, but the incident occurred in October 2018.

The statue in Gravesend, created by Douglas Jennings, was later wrapped in plastic and a police investigation was launched.

Gravesham Borough Council leader David Turner described the vandalism at the time as a "mindless, criminal act".

He told Kent Online: "We are extremely disappointed that someone has vandalized the plinth that the Queens Statue stands upon.

"We are currently waiting for the professional stone mason that installed the plinth to advise us of the best way to remove the graffiti without damaging the beautiful Portland stone."

queen
Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the state banquet in her honour at Schloss Bellevue palace on the second of the royal couple's four-day visit to Germany on June 24, 2015, in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Ruling

True.

A statue of the Queen was indeed targeted and painted with the words "parasite."
However, the photos that have been shared online are from three years ago and the act was not related to the recent Meghan and Harry interview.

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