Australian DJs Speak Out on Kate Middleton Phone Prank Tragedy
Australian radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian are wishing they'd never prank-called London's King Edward VII hospital last week.
Admitting they're "shattered, gutted, heartbroekn," the Sydney-based DJs for station 2DayFM broke their silence Monday Dec. 10 in an emotional TV interview about the shocking Friday suicide of Jacintha Saldanha -- the hospital nurse who helped care for pregnant Kate Middleton, and who was fooled by the pair's hoax. (Saldanha mistook the pranksters for the Duchess of Cambridge's royal relatives, and passed along the phone to a colleague, who then provided confidential information about Middleton's condition.)
Greig's first thought after learning of Saldanha's death? "Unfortunately I remember that moment very well, because I haven't stopped thinking about it since it happened," she said tearfully. "I remember my first question was 'was she a mother?'."
Indeed, 46-year-old Saldanha left behind a husband, Ben Barboza, and two young children; her body was discovered Friday morning at staff quarters near the hospital where Middleton, 30, had been treated for acute morning sickness.
"I've wanted to just reach out to them and just give them a big hug and say sorry. I hope they're okay, I really do. I hope they get through this," Greig said.
Her colleague Christian also struggled to get through the interview. "I hope that they get the love, the support, the care that they need, you know," he said. Of the prank, in which the pair impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, Greig claimed she was flabbergasted their ruse was successful.
"We thought a hundred people before us would've tried it. We thought it was such a silly idea and the accents were terrible and not for a second did we expect to speak to Kate, let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital. We wanted to be hung up on," she said.
Taking an indefinite leave of absence from 2DayFM, the pair were the subject of over 1,000 complaints from Australian listeners -- and received a very sternly-worded email from representatives at King Edward VII hospital, calling the trick "foolish" and "appalling."
"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."