Royal baby hoax: Hospital not amused at prank call

The King Edward VII hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge is receiving treatment for acute morning sickness, has admitted it fell victim to a prank phone call from an Australian radio show.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Royal baby phone hoax: hospital not amused at prank call” was written by Caroline Davies, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 5th December 2012 12.13 UTC

The King Edward VII hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge is receiving treatment for acute morning sickness, has admitted it fell victim to a prank phone call from an Australian radio show.

The show’s presenters, who pretended to be the Queen and Prince of Wales, were put through to the duchess’s private nurse and given details of her medical condition.

The 2Day FM announcers Mel Greig and Michael Christian called in the early hours of Tuesday morning and managed to convince hospital staff despite putting on ridiculous comedy accents, complete with pretend corgis yapping in the background.

The hoax caller said at one point to the nurse: “When is a good time to come and visit her because I’m the Queen and I need a lift down there.”

The callers were put through to the nurse after Greig, co-presenting the Summer 30 weeknight show, rang to ask to speak to her “granddaughter Kate”. She was put through to a duty nurse who told Greig how the duchess was faring.

During the two-minute call, Greig said to the hospital switchboard operator: “Oh hello there, could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter,” and was told: “Oh yes. Hold on,” and was then put through to the duty nurse. The hoax Queen said: “Kate my darling, are you there?”

The nurse replied: “Good morning ma’am, this is a nurse speaking. How may I help you?” Greig said: “Hello. I’m just after my granddaughter Kate. I wanted to see how her little tummy bug is going.”

The presenter was given details about the duchess’s condition, and then replied: “OK. I’ll just feed my little corgis then.” Pretend barking was heard in the background, with a pretend Charles shouting ‘Mummy mummy!”

At one point Christian asked: “Is Wills still there, or has he gone home. I haven’t spoken to him yet.” Greig then said: “When are you going to walk those bloody corgis?” Christian replied: “Mummy, I’ll go and take the dogs outside.”

In a statement, the hospital said: “King Edward VII’s hospital Sister Agnes can confirm that an Australian radio station made a hoax call to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning. This call was transferred through to a ward and a short conversation was held with one of the nursing staff. King Edward VII’s hospital deeply regrets this incident.”

John Lofthouse, chief executive at the hospital, said: “This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore. We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously and we are now reviewing our telephone protocols.”

A spokesman for the royal couple said they would not be making a comment.

Greig and Christian later apologised. They said: “We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we’d be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents. We’re very sorry if we’ve caused any issues and we’re glad to hear that Kate is doing well.”

The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being broadcast to listeners in Sydney. A spokeswoman for the station said: “2Day FM sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused by the inquiries to Kate’s hospital. The radio segment was done with lighthearted intentions. We wish Kate and her family all the best and we’re glad to hear she’s doing well.”

It is not the first time a member of the royal family has been the subject of a prank call. In 1995 a Canadian DJ pretending to be Canada’s then prime minister, Jean Chretien, was put through to the Queen and spoke for around 15 minutes, during which he asked her to record a speech in support of Canadian unity before a referendum in Quebec.

On Wednesday William was again visiting his wife in the hospital, where she is receiving treatment for hyperemesis gravidarum.

Meanwhile, the Earl and Countess of Wessex became the first members of the royal family to comment on the duchess’s pregnancy. Sophie told journalists she was “absolutely thrilled”. “It’s the most perfect end to an amazing year,” she said. Edward said he had “deep, deep sympathy” for the duchess over her morning sickness.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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