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• A photo of the knighting of Simon Russell Beale was edited to replace the English actor with the black cat.
• The image was shared on Ruben’s official Facebook profile on April Fools’ Day.
The picture looks too good to be true: Queen Elizabeth II is shown placing a sword on the shoulder of a black cat, who appears to bow his little head in respect. "Congratulations to Ruben, knighted by the Queen," says the caption.
Ruben is an influencer cat from Exeter who is famous for wandering around the city. According to his website, he has been retrieved from more than 40 different addresses, including hospitals, care homes, schools, and private residences.
The black cat has more than 15,000 followers on Facebook and the claim that he was knighted at Buckingham Palace was shared on his profile on April 1. Although the date originally indicated that the post was a joke, the image has since circulated without that context.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Unfortunately, Ruben was not really made a knight by the queen.
A photo of the knighting of Simon Russell Beale was edited to replace the English actor with the feline. The expressions and postures of the guards in the two images match exactly, and the pattern of the carpet in the royal chamber strangely disappears right where Beale was located in the original photo, indicating that the image was edited.
It would be difficult for Ruben, or any other animal, to be knighted by the British queen. The rules published by the government department that oversees the knighting process do not mention animals. They say that the award is given to "people" for achievements in culture, sports, business, and other areas.
The cat would have a better chance with the Norwegian king, who knighted a penguin in 2008 that had served as an unofficial mascot of the King’s Guard.
An image shared on Facebook claimed that Ruben, an influencer cat from Exeter, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, becoming Sir Ruben.
The image was edited to replace Simon Russell Beale, an actor who was knighted in 2019, with the black cat from Exeter. The edited photo was shared on Ruben’s Facebook page on April Fools’ Day.
Regrettably, we rate the image False.
Snopes, "Did Queen Elizabeth give a knighthood to a cat named Ruben?" April 26, 2022
Press Association, Picture of Simon Russell Beale being made a Knight Bachelor of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth, Oct. 10, 2019
The Independent, "Simon Russell Beale knighted for distinguished career in theatre," June 7, 2019
Website of the British government, "Nominate someone for an honour or award," accessed on April 27, 2022
BBC News, "Military penguin becomes a ‘Sir’", Aug. 15, 2008
Reuters, "Penguin promoted to brigadier at Edinburgh Zoo," Aug. 23, 2016
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