A nurse who was involved in Kate Middleton’s prenatal care, reportedly committed suicide after becoming the victim of a radio show prank involving two shock jock radio DJs in Australia and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Jacintha Saldanha, 43, was reportedly found dead Friday morning, within walking distance from the King Edward VII Hospital where Kate Middleton was admitted to after she suffered a severe bout of morning sickness. Prince William and Kate Middleton announced that Middleton was pregnant on Dec. 3.
Australian radio personalities and hosts, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, concocted a hoax in which Creig put on an English accent, called Kate’s hospital while identifying herself as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
Saldanha apparently believed she was speaking to the Queen and patched the call through to another nurse who gave the DJs details about Middleton’s condition. Saldanha transfer led to another nurse providing the prankster with sensitive medical information about Middleton. The nurse whom Saldanha transferred the call to told the radio show that Middleton was “stable” after severe vomiting from hyperemesis gravidarum.
The prank went viral on Wednesday, sparking condemnation by Middleton’s family who said the error was a “shocking breach of security.”
It is believed that Saldanha, who has two children, was deeply humiliated by the experience. One source told the NY Daily News that they believed Saldanha had taken her own life because she was so ashamed.
The shock jock DJs are currently on leave while their employers investigate the incident. Greig issued an apology before Saldanha’s death saying, “We’re very sorry if we’ve caused any issues for Kate or the nurse. It was honestly meant as fun and I do hope the nurse and Kate are OK.”
Prince William and Duchess Kate also issued a statement of condolence, saying they were “deeply saddened” by the news.
Editor’s Note: Story was corrected to accurately reflect Saldanha’s role as victim in the prank. Saldanha was the nurse who transferred the call to another nurse who gave the pranksters private information about Kate Middleton.