England: Senseless tragedy after phone prank

England’s beautiful Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

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.


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15 thoughts on “England: Senseless tragedy after phone prank

  1. And underlying the entire premise of royalty is the absurd assumption that certain genetic lines of descent, anchored in history, are superior to others and are therefore entitled to dynastic wealth and privilege. In saying this however I am not defending American culture, which in a way is just as nutty. People here seem to think that celebrities, Hollywood types especially, are wiser in all things than the rest of us.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. So much about our culture is indefensible. And reprehensible. These days we don’t even have a properly functioning government. I’ve tried to think of some American institution that’s comparable to the Royal Family, something that would help me understand the British mindset on royalty, and I come up empty. The super rich, the politically powerful, Hollywood celebrities — not even Donald Trump; much as they might wish it, they are not royalty.

  2. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. . . ” Many Americans gave their lives for that principle. Why are we still pandering to insignificant mortals claiming some divine right of kings as their passport to a life of indolence and no accountability? It’s disgusting, and now it has cost the life of a perfectly innocent person.

  3. This happened when I was very busy with my new job so really didn’t catch the details until a day or so afterwards. But the first thing that I thought was that the nurse had to have had some sort of mental or emotional problems. Yes, they love the royal family there, but to take one’s own life pretty much requires some sort of imbalance. It is a horrible thing that happened, but the prank was very mild compared to what some reporters have done in order to get a story.

    1. I don’t know, I think there’s a bit of truth in “so embarrassed i could die” and “I was mortified” (see Latin root). In any case, I think people have been way too hard on the DJs.

      Grats on the new job. Hope you’re lovin’ it.

      1. I love it! I work at home now building custom registration sites for corporate events. Make twice as much as my previous job, which I hated. This is the dream job I have always wanted. No insurance, though. We all telecommute and it’s a 1099 job. But that’s fine. That is what I was looking for. My last boss gave me shit if I didn’t work 44-50 hours per week because 40/hr per week salaried people she think are required to work more than they’re paid. “It’s for the company.” What the ef ever.

      2. Oh that’s wonderful! You can work at your own pace, in your own comfortable surroundings. No commuting, no parking … none of that overhead and stress. I’m so happy for you!

      3. Well, there are deadlines, but so long as the work is done by then, yes I can work at my own pace. LOL… i still have the same tank of gas in my van from my last fill-up…. at the end of October! And now that I’m out of my previous job’s stressful environment, I’m down to less than 5 smokes a day. Usually 2 or 3 now. I was a 2-3 PACK a day. So, I’m pretty darn skippy now.

      4. Guess I meant work more on your own schedule, and without wasting time with a commute. But absolutely, stress can kill. It does terrible things to you. I’m delighted you’re out of it.

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