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Egads! Aussie DJ Pretends To Be Queen, Gets Hospital To Talk About Kate

Dec 5, 2012
Originally published on December 5, 2012 6:00 pm

Oh dear:

"The hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge ... 'deeply regrets' giving out information about her condition to hoax callers from an Australian radio station," the BBC writes.

According to CNN, "John Lofthouse, chief executive at the hospital, is quoted as saying: 'This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore. We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously and we are now reviewing our telephone protocols.' "

As The Australian reports, DJ's Mel Greig and Michael Christian from a show called 2Day FM "managed to convince staff at the King Edward VII hospital that they were both the Queen of England and Prince Charles and found themselves connected through to Middleton's private nurse last night."

Kate's pregnancy is huge news to many around the world — including, of course, in Australia. She was admitted to the hospital earlier this week because she's suffering from severe morning sickness.

As you can hear in this recording of the call to the hospital, the woman who comes on the line and is said to be one of Kate's nurses doesn't seem to be suspicious about getting a call from the faux royals. She rather cheerfully informs "the queen" that the duchess had an "uneventful night" and "hasn't had any retching with me since I've been on duty."

The prank call begins around the 1:40 mark in the recording.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Buckingham Palace is mad, furious in fact, over this prank phone call.

MEL GREIG: Kate, my darling, are you there?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Good morning, ma'am, this is the nurse's station. How may I help you?

GREIG: Hello. I'm just after my granddaughter, Kate. I want to see how her little tummy bug is going.

CORNISH: That's Mel Greig, one of the two Australian DJs from Sydney's 2D FM who rang up the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly known as Kate Middleton, is being treated for acute morning sickness. Somehow, Greig and her on-air partner managed to convince the nurse that they were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. And they got this update on the pregnant duchess.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She's quite stable at the moment. She hasn't had any retching with me since I've been on duty and she has been sleeping on and off. I think it's difficult sleeping in a strange bed as well.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The King Edward VII Hospital has confirmed that this call did take place and has issued a weighty apology. The DJs have also said they are very sorry, adding they're glad to hear that the Duchess is doing well.

CORNISH: This breach of privacy is a big embarrassment for King Edward VII Hospital, long favored by the royal family. We suspect it's also a big embarrassment for the nurse and for the person who told her that she'd be talking to the Queen. The Queen is often imitated, but this was a bad impersonation all around, from Prince Charles to the barking Corgis.

BLOCK: In the interest of preventing future royal confusion, we give you this opportunity to test yourself.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: We call it Queen and not Queen. Listen carefully. Make your best guess. Ready? Go.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: In this past year, my family and I have been inspired by the courage and hope we have seen in so many ways.

CORNISH: All right. Queen?

BLOCK: Totally Queen. Yes.

CORNISH: Next?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 3: Now, Canada, I want you never to forget that without me, you are nothing. Yes, it's true.

BLOCK: Clearly, not Queen.

CORNISH: Absolutely not the Queen. It's actually Scott Thompson of the Canadian comedy troupe "The Kids In The Hall." Now moving on.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 4: I was in India once as a girl. We stayed with the Maharaja of Vindaloo or Madras. I never remember all those places.

BLOCK: That is so not the Queen, Audie. That's comedian Tracey Ullman.

CORNISH: Though I appreciate the way she says girl.

BLOCK: And Vindaloo.

CORNISH: All right. One more.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 5: I don't think I shall ever understand what happened this summer.

CORNISH: Not the Queen.

BLOCK: Not the Queen, but a pretty good imitation.

CORNISH: Yes. This is an actress who's played many of them. That's Helen Mirren in the 2006 movie, "The Queen," sounding very, very close to the real British monarch.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II: I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countries' kindnesses sent to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth. Thank you all.

CORNISH: And that is the Queen. Our work here is done. And throughout tonight's show, we've been hearing a slightly different musical sound.

BLOCK: That's right. The band Los Straight Jackets is here in our Washington, D.C. studios, sort of our house band tonight playing the music for the show.

CORNISH: And there's nothing like a little surf rock to lighten up the mood.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: With Los Straight Jackets, you're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.