Huw Edwards 'practised announcement of Queen's death in bathroom mirror'

Watch: Huw Edwards announces the death of Queen Elizabeth on BBC

BBC anchor Huw Edwards has been roundly praised for his sombre and respectful delivery of the news that the Queen had died.

Programmes were interrupted by an image of the flag at Buckingham Palace at half mast before Edwards, dressed in a black suit and tie, told viewers: “A few moments ago Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”

Now it has been revealed that the BBC's lead news presenter had practiced the announcement – in his bathroom mirror.

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spokesman, revealed on Friday that Edwards “told me a few months ago he had been preparing, practising and even rehearsing in front of his bathroom mirror for this moment for some time.

TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she attends the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland (also known as the Royal Company of Archers) Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on June 30, 2022. (Photo by Jane Barlow / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JANE BARLOW/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II. (Getty Images)

“He said too that the Queen’s death would be the biggest challenge to BBC News in its history. He did superbly.”

The veteran broadcaster has been hailed for a “masterclass” in broadcasting.

Comedian David Baddiel said it was “an amazing performance” by Edwards.

“A masterclass in whatever the opposite might be of comedy improvisation, in extended sombreness.”

Huw Edwards reporting on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. (BBC/PA)
Huw Edwards reporting on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. (BBC/PA)

Public historian Greg Jenner, meanwhile, said “there is no finer broadcaster for finding the right pace, tone, and dignity amidst the unfurling chaos of live television”.

The Royal Family announced the Queen’s death at 6.30pm, with Edwards having been presenting rolling news coverage on BBC One since midday, when Buckingham Palace released its first statement which said royal doctors were concerned for her health.

He later reflected on the “seismic event” for the world as he discussed her historic reign with the BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.

Edwards said: “It’s not a surprise when someone of that age [96] suffers ill health and eventually passes away, but what is left, of course, is the reflection on what was achieved and the kind of life that was led, and the sense of duty and a sense of loyalty.

Read more: Queen's death: How long is the mourning period?

“And as Nick was saying, the sense of humility, which seems rather bizarre to say for a monarch, as someone who had a sense of service to others.

“And this was a theme that was repeated so often in the Queen’s statements and at great milestones in her life.”

Edwards has anchored on major royal milestones throughout the years, including the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh last year.

He has also presented coverage of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018.