An early-morning prank call in which two Australian DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, posed as the Queen and Prince of Wales might be the last hoax that they would ever conduct.
When the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was admitted to London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital, nurse Jacintha Saldanha was on duty. She took the hoax call from the two DJs, who made her believe that she was receiving a call from the Queen and were obviously trying to fool her into revealing juicy details.
Thus, she released private information about the Duchess’ condition without giving a second thought:
Mel Greig: “Oh hello there, could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?”
Nurse: “Oh yes, just hold on ma’am.”
Mel Grieg: “Thank you.”
Michael Christian: “Are they putting us through?”
Mel Grieg: “Yes.”
Michael Christian: “If this has worked, it’s the easiest prank call we’ve ever made. Your accent sucked by the way, I just wanted you to know.”
Mel Grieg: “I’m not used to playing old 80-year-olds.”
(phone picks up)
Mel Grieg: “Kate my darling, are you there?”
Nurse: “Good morning, ma’am, this is the nurse speaking. How may I help you?”
Mel Grieg: “Hello, I’m just after my granddaughter Kate. I wanted to see how her little tummy bug is going.”
Nurse: “She’s sleeping at the moment. And she had an uneventful night. And sleep is good for her. As we speak, she’s been getting some fluids to rehydrate her. She was quite dehydrated when she came in. But she’s stable at the moment.”
Mel Grieg: “Okay, I’ll just feed my little corgis then.”
Michael Christian: “Lovely. But they’re all okay, everything’s alright?”
Nurse: “Yes, she’s quite stable at the moment. She hasn’t had any retching with me, since I’ve been on duty. And she’s been sleeping on and off.”
Michael Christian: “Wonderful.”
Nurse: “And I think it’s difficult sleeping in a strange bed as well.”
Michael Christian: “Yes, of course! It’s hardly the palace, is it?”
Mel Greig: “Oh, it’s nothing like the palace, is it, Charles?”
While it was all fun and laughs for Mel and Michael, who did it all as a part of their radio show, little did they know that nurse Jacintha would have taken the hoax with such burden and shame. As a matter of fact, 48 hours after the broadcast of the prank call, the mother-of-two Jacintha was found dead near the hospital.
Jacintha’s husband, Ben Barboza, took to Facebook to share his pain over his wife’s sudden death. He said, “I am devastated with the tragic loss of my beloved wife Jacintha in tragic circumstances. She will be laid to rest in Shirva, India.”
Following Jacintha’s apparently suicide, Prince William issued a statement after hearing the news which read:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Their royal highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.
But the repercussions didn’t end there.
On Saturday, the radio station behind Mel and Michael’s show, 2DayFM announced that the duo was being yanked off their air indefinitely. The station said that they will not return to their radio show until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as tragedy. 2DayFM has also issued a ban on all prank calls while it reportedly reviews its policies on such stunts.
Sigh. Shame on you. Shame. On. You.
To add on to the dramatic end of Jacintha’s death, news are now reporting that she had apparently left a suicide note for her family (her husband and her two teenage children) before taking her own life. The content of the note, however, have not been revealed.
Her family is currently still seeking answers despite the note, over her death.