Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse who worked at the hospital where Kate Middleton was treated for morning sickness, was found dead Friday morning. The nurse was the victim of a radio prank call which was transferred to the Duchess of Cambridge.
The call, made by Mel Greig and Michael Christian — two Australian DJs from 2Day FM in Sydney pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, was put through to the Duchess’s ward, where they were given an update on Kate’s health by the nurse.
Ms. Greig, posing as the queen, asked when might be a good time to visit the Duchess, and made comedic references to her pet corgis.
“She’s sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night, she’s been given some fluids…she’s stable at the moment,” the nurse told the pranksters. “I would suggest that any time after 9 o’clock will be suitable,” adding, “We’ll be getting her freshened up.”
Saldanha, 46, was found unconscious Friday morning near the King Edward VII’s Hospital where she had worked for more than four years, and pronounced dead at the scene.
Although authorities said the cause of the nurse’s death was “unexplained,” suicide is suspected as the likely cause.
As spokesman for the hospital issued a statement, saying:
“It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII’s Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues.
We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time.”
St. James Palace on behalf of the royal family also issued a statement, saying:
“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.”
Audio of the prank phone call to the hospital was removed from the radio station’s Web site and the broadcasters’ YouTube channel after the nurse’s death.