The Queen, one supposes, is most definitely not amused.
Two Australian radio hosts have managed to embarrass the staff of King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes in London, where Kate Middleton is receiving treatment for acute morning sickness, by posing as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and getting put through to the Duchess of Cambridge’s ward.
The presenters, who work for Sydney station 2Day FM, said they didn’t expect to convince anybody they were the monarch and her oldest child with some put-on accents and background corgi noises. But hospital staffers never saw through the ruse, and put the call through to Kate’s private nurse, who gave the radio hosts an update on the Duchess’ condition.
The two-minute conversation is utterly ridiculous. “Oh hello there, could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter,” asks 2Day FM host Mel Greig, pretending to be the Queen. She is told, “Oh yes. Hold on,” whereby she continues, “Kate my darling, are you there?” A clearly nervous nurse is all too eager to offer assistance: “Good morning ma’am, this is a nurse speaking. How may I help you?”
And so it goes. They chat about Kate’s condition (“She hasn’t had any retching with me since I’ve been on duty,” we learn) and visiting hours (“When is a good time to come and visit her because I’m the Queen and I need a lift down there”). The low point – and there are many –must be when Greig’s co-host Michael Christian, posing as Prince Charles, gets involved. “Is Wills still there, or has he gone home. I haven’t spoken to him yet,” he asks. Co-presenter Greig then wonders, “When are you going to walk those bloody corgis?” which receives the response, “Mummy, I’ll go and take the dogs outside.”
In the aftermath, both the radio station and hospital appeared contrite. The presenters Grieg and Christian 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 radio station also said it “sincerely apologizes for any inconvenience caused.” John Lofthouse, chief executive at King Edward VII’s 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.” On a more serious level, Lofthouse later filmed a video message where he confirmed that the matter was “technically… a breach of patient confidentiality” though the information disclosed was “already in the public domain.” As for the royal couple, a spokesman said they wouldn’t be making a comment.
It’s not the first time in which the royal family have been the target of hoax callers. Back in 1995 Canadian DJ Pierre Brassard, pretending to be then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, was put through to the Queen at Buckingham Palace for a good 15 minute chat.