Australian radio presenters trick staff at Duchess of Cambridge's hospital into giving details of her condition
The 2Day FM presenters phoned the hospital pretending to be the Queen
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Wednesday 05 December 2012
Two Australian radio presenters tricked the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge into divulging details of her medical condition after claiming in a phone call to be the Queen and Prince Charles.
As thousands of Australians listened into the 2Day FM presenters Michael Christian and Mel Greig, an un-named nurse at King Edward VII's Hospital Sister Agnes in London gave basic details of the Duchess' condition overnight and dutifully answered the pranksters’ questions about visiting hours.
At one stage Ms Greig, aka “The Queen”, insisted that she needed to feed her corgis – while a studio worker mimicked yapping dogs in the background.
The hospital confirmed the prank had taken place, described it as "foolish" and announced a review of security.
King Edward VII, Marylebone, is the preferred hospital for the Royal Family and has been caring for the Duchess of Cambridge since Monday when she was admitted with hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness which affects about one in every 200 pregnancies.
Mr Christian and Ms Greig, presenters of the daytime Summer 30 show, could be heard joking before calling the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning UK time.
In a conspiratorial voice, Mr Christian told listeners: “Here’s the thing we’ve been handed a phone number and we’ve been told that this number if the phone number where Kate Middleton is currently staying. We thought we would give it a call.
He added, in his Australian accent: “We can’t just ring up and say ‘hi it’s MC and Mel from the Summer 30, can we speak to Kate?’… it’s not going to happen.’
As his co-presenter giggled, he told Ms Greig: “You are going to be the Queen and I’m going to be Prince Charles.”
When a female hospital receptionist answered the call, Ms Greig, adopting an upper-class English accent, said: “Oh, hello there, could I please speak to Kate, my grand-daughter.”
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