When I heard the news that the Duchess of Cambridge (or should I call her Kate? – she is, after all, just one of ‘us’) is pregnant, I thought ‘that’s nice’.
When it was announced she had been admitted to a private London hospital suffering from a nasty form of morning sickness, I thought ’poor old Kate’; it can’t, after all, be much fun to be suffering the early stages of pregnancy; but why don’t the press camp outside the homes of all the women in the UK who suffer the same symptoms as Kate, who puke in a bucket, and just get on with their daily routines?
When the constant news updates continued, I was getting slightly bored. Then, when I heard the recording of the hoax call, made by two Australian radio presenters, to the private hospital in which Kate was suffering, I laughed! Not because its content was world class comedy but because it was so badly executed it seemed that no-one could ever be fooled by the terrible accents that were purporting to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
Even Prince Charles made light of the incident during a public engagement, when he asked the assembled press ‘how do you know I am not a radio station’
Sadly, it would all have been consigned to the dustbin of bad gags (as in comedy – not sickness) until the body of the nurse who had answered the call was discovered – it appears she had taken her own life.
The two Aussie DJs have now been granted ‘Enemy Number One’ status by the British press; they have been removed from their programme, and they are said to be ‘gutted, shattered and heartbroken’ by the events following their hoax call.
But are they really to blame?
The stunt they pulled was not original and was not pre-planned to cause harm to anyone. By their own admission, they expected the switchboard to disconnect the call before they were connected to Kate’s ward; they were just trying to entertain their audience, like many radio prank callers have done in the past.
Who’s fault is it then?
Did the Buckingham Palace press department create a media frenzy by announcing Kate’s pregnancy and her subsequent admission to hospital, too soon? (until they did, the two DJs hadn’t even contemplated making such a call).
Did the royal doctors over react by admitting Kate to hospital and causing the subsequent press mellee?
Did our media over-hype the story by creating such headlines about, what is to many women, a normal stage of pregnancy?
Did the management of the hospital overreact during their subsequent internal inquiry into the call, and discipline the nurse too harshly when apportioning blame?
What seems certain is that we will probably never know the true state of mind of the nurse immediately preceding her death. All of those featured in the above must share some of the blame for what transpired.
But…. none of that will change the reality of an innocent father and two children left without a wife and a mother!