Fact Check: 'Grim Reaper' Did NOT Appear At Coronation Of King Charles III -- It Was A Verger

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: 'Grim Reaper' Did NOT Appear At Coronation Of King Charles III -- It Was A Verger Not The Reaper

Did the Grim Reaper walk through Westminster Abbey during the coronation of King Charles III on May 6, 2023? No, that's not true: A press officer at the Abbey told Lead Stories that the robed figure seen on TV during the ceremony is a verger, not the symbolic representation of death. A verger is a lay minister who assists the clergy during public worship

The claim appeared in a video post on Facebook (archived here) on May 7, 2023. The description for the post only included a pair of side eyes:


This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Grim Reaper Lady.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue May 9 15:33:13 2023 UTC)

During the video, the narrator lays out a string of conspiracy theories, ending with one about the Grim Reaper. At the 2:43 mark, she says:

Have y'all seen the footage of the Grim Reaper at King Charles's coronation? [shows video of the figure] Y'all know that his coronation happens to fall six months, six weeks and six days after Queen Elizabeth's funeral. What the hell is going on?

Here's a screenshot of the figure the narrator identifies as the Grim Reaper at the 2:48 mark of the video:

Reaper still shot cropped.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue May 9 16:27:50 2023 UTC)

The figure also appeared in another clip that was viewed widely on TikTok.

Westminster Abbey

Grace Long, a press officer at Westminster Abbey, where the coronation took place, told Lead Stories in a May 9, 2023, phone interview that the person seen in the video was not the Grim Reaper. She said:

We've had lots and lots of calls and emails about this. We're not really responding, only to say that it was a verger and that's it. ... It's not a priest, it's someone who assists with services.

Long repeated herself later in the interview. She continued:

No, not the Grim Reaper, a verger. ... I think there probably would've been a little bit more impact [if it were the Grim Reaper].

Not 666

The May 6, 2023, coronation of King Charles was held more than six months, six weeks and six days after the death of his mother on September 8, 2022. However, according to calculations by Lead Stories, that day would have fallen on April 25, 2023, which is about a week and a half before the coronation. The reference to 666 in the video was meant to link the event to the Antichrist.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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