With apologies to my British readers, I confess to a lifetime of bemusement over England’s and the media’s utter enthrallment with the Royal Family. As a child I considered it akin to fairy princesses. But as an adult I’ve never understood the awe and reverence accorded these mere mortals and their anachronistic, albeit historical, trappings.
Witness the banner headlines round the world when it was announced that Princess Kate is pregnant. Wonderful news for any young couple who want to have a family, but hardly an unusual occurrence. That the baby will be a royal heir, probably one of several, means nothing to me. It’s a shame the couple can’t have their privacy and that the whole world was watching when she was admitted to the hospital a few days ago suffering from acute morning sickness.
I thought it a harmless prank when two Australian DJs posing as the Queen and Prince Charles managed to get through on the phone directly to Kate’s hospital room and talk with her personal nurse. Because the call got through, that nurse made an erroneous assumption and revealed some personal information — that Kate was sleeping, dehydrated, and not “retching.” Horrors! A critical state secret gets out!
Apparently England takes these things very seriously. Much too seriously. This morning all the hoopla took a deeply tragic turn. Jacintha Saldanha, the receptionist nurse who was fooled and put the call through to Kate’s room, was found dead, an apparent suicide. Such is the sense of responsibility felt by those close to Royal Family.
That a harmless prank — it was, after all, only a phone call — could engender such shame and remorse in Ms. Saldanha is a sign that things are badly out of kilter in England and some priorities need to be re-evaluated. Some sense of proportion needs to be rediscovered over there.
- Royal Prank Call Nurse ‘Commits Suicide’ (news.sky.com)
- Royal baby: Pranked hospital receptionist commits suicide (upi.com)
- Duchess of Cambridge hoax call nurse found dead (guardian.co.uk)
- Kate hoax nurse found dead: Full transcript of the call (yorkshirepost.co.uk)