“While the exercise was conducted properly, we regret any misunderstanding this may have caused.”
A palace source later confirmed Her Majesty is well and it was “business as usual”.
Former paratrooper Alfie Usher - who was one of the key people behind the text - later shared it to a military humour Facebook page called Fill Your Boots UK, insisting it was a joke.
“It went bigger than Ben Hur,” he told the Portsmouth News. “I realised I was losing control of the situation when other news sources were picking it up. I feel so sorry for Gibbo. Someone screenshotted his message, which was out of his control, and he will be the one that gets shafted.”
Meanwhile The Queen is said to be fearful that a spate of royal scandals - from Prince Andrew’s involvement with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, to Prince Harry and Prince William’s ongoing tension - means the end of the monarchy.
“There has always been grumbling about the tax money going to the wealthy royal family, but the latest scandals have whipped the public into a purple fury,” a royal insider told US publication GLOBE.
“People are calling for an end to the costly ‘sovereign grant’ that pays millions in allowances to the royals each year. And the queen, who is ailing and 93, is terrified the monarchy will cease to exist after her death,” they continue.
“The queen is in despair that these scandals have shamed the royal family beyond repair,” says the insider. “She’s depressed and distraught that her death will mark the end of the monarchy.”