Like many other councils across the country, Hampshire County Council has paid its respects to Prince Philip, who sadly passed away at the age of 99.

However, in the county council’s case, the message was first issued in 2019, when the council accidentally published it in error on its website. The message displayed today, and the accidentally published message, are identical, though the appearance of the message has changed.

It reads: "On behalf of our residents, the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and Hampshire County Council offer deepest sympathies to the Royal family on the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"At Hampshire County Council's headquarters buildings in Winchester flags have been lowered to half-mast."

Pre-preparing obituaries for notable figures is a common practice across many major organisations. For instance, the BBC often prepares packages of TV, radio and web stories in advance, with a specific department separate from the news team making sure they are ready to be published in the event of the passing of a important person.

These are normally updated periodically to reflect on changes in the figure’s life.

In Hampshire County Council’s case, the message was prepared at least by February 15, 2019, when it was accidentally published on the website. It was removed after a few minutes, with the council apologising for the publication.

It followed similar incidents by The Daily Telegraph and The Sun, who both accidentally published articles on Prince Phillip’s death in 2017.

Following the Prince’s death, the council have announced that their leader and chairman will be laying flowers at Winchester Great Hall on April 10, alongside the Lord-Lieutenant of the county.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: “The condolence information on the front page of the County Council’s webpages contains updated information in relation to the national period of mourning following the very sad death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"This also includes information in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“A statement containing the County Council’s official expression of condolence has also been published to the news media, and is available on the County Council’s webpages.”