This Is Why Tabloids Are Bad: Kate Middleton’s Nurse Commits Suicide After Radio Prank

kate middleton nurseJacintha Saldanha, the nurse at Kate Middleton‘s hospital who was victim of a prank call from Australian radio hosts earlier this week, was found dead today in an apparent suicide. The story is a tragic sign of how damaging British tabloids (and really, any tabloids) can be–and not just to celebrities.

If you haven’t heard the story, radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian from 2Day FM in Australia called Kate Middleton’s hospital pretending to be Prince Charles and the Queen. Jacintha answered the call because no receptionist was available, and put the call through to one of Kate’s bedside nurses, who revealed details about her health. Although the Australian radio station apologized for inconveniences they might have caused the hospital, they continued to play the recording this week.

The Scotland Yard responded to reports of an unconscious woman in central London this morning at 9:35 a.m., but were unable to revive her. They later confirmed that it was the nurse involved in the hoax, and reported her death to her husband, family, and two children.

The Palace spokesman said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are “deeply saddened,” according to the Daily Mail, adding in a statement:

Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

When asked if they felt any responsibility for the nurse’s death, he said on the contrary, Prince William and Catherine had been supportive of the hospital in the wake of the radio hoax:

On the contrary we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.

The story is an appalling reminder of how seriously tabloids can warp the lives of people involved, especially when they aren’t celebrities with teams of publicists and advisors to prepare them for cruel headlines and sudden invasions of their personal lives. Saldanha’s death is most tragic for her family and friends, but it also casts a dark shadow over Kate Middleton’s pregnancy–which is likely to only get more intense as it goes on.

Photo: DLM Press,

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    • BornAgainFitness

      wow, someone on that radio show is getting sued; with the possibility of criminal action.

    • Aussie

      Good point, although a radio station isn’t a tabloid so shows you’re a bit dim.

      • Hannah Beth

        True, but the information went to the tabloids FROM the radio show. So you just didn’t make the connection ;)

    • John

      The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard did the same thing just 24 hours later when she went on another Australian radio station and claimed the World was going to end. But in the wake of this tragedy there’s been NO apology from her, just a few tut tut comments because she saw it as a ‘media opportunity’ . What if somebody suffering from a mental disorder took her stupid joke seriously and committed suicide, or worse went and harmed somebody else. Not much to laugh about then eh Julia.

    • biguswigus

      How is it anything to do with tabloids, the hints in the headline – RADIO? Also, however bad the tabloids can be, have you looked into countries that don’t have a free press? Its a lot worse….

      • meg

        Indeed. It was a radio prank, not a tabloid attack.

    • h

      This woman could have had a lot of problems. Taking your life is a huge deal and I’m guessing there was a lot more going on in her life to drive her to this point. In fact, this hoax could have been the least of her worries – especially since nothing detrimental was said in the interview. You’re doing this woman a disservice in assuming (and printing) the only or main reason she would choose to end it all is because of a simple hoax, royal family or not. You’re really stretching this story about bad/false reporting…. hmmm….