- (Photo: REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool)
The Royal Family has said the death of Duchess Kate Middleton's nurse has deeply saddened them, and offered their prayers and thoughts for the family of Jacintha Saldanha, who died last Friday morning after being a victim of a prank phone call by two Australian Djs.
A statement released by Prince William and Kate Middleton read: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Their Royal Highnesses were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha's family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time."
Saldanha, a mother of two, was one of the nurses taking care of Kate Middleton at King Edward Vll Hospital last week as she suffered from extreme morning sickness.
Saldanha was found unconscious in an apparent suicide just two days after a prank phone call to the hospital, where she was tricked into thinking she was speaking to the Queen, and gave out private information about Kate's condition. The phone call was in fact a prank call being made by two Australian shock Djs.
The nurse was pronounced dead just minutes after her body being found.
The hospital has spoken out regarding her death, stating, "It is with very deep sadness that we confirm the tragic death of a member of our nursing staff, Jacintha Saldanha. Jacintha has worked at the King Edward VII's Hospital for more than four years. She was an excellent nurse and well-respected and popular with all of her colleagues."
The statement continued: "We can confirm that Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call to the hospital. The hospital had been supporting her throughout this difficult time."
The prank was made by 2Day FM radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian. The pair tricked the nurse into believing that they were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and asked questions about Kate's condition. In the aftermath of the prank the two DJs boasting publicly about being able to trick the nurse.
During the prank call Greig is heard putting on an English accent saying, "Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?"
John Lofthouse, chief executive at the hospital, said in a statement prior to Saldanha's death, "This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore. We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously and we are now reviewing our telephone protocols."
Lofthouse spoke out again after learning about the suspected suicide. "Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends."
Lord Glenarthur, Chairman of King Edward VII's Hospital, spoke highly of Saldanha and described her death as "tragic."
"This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed," Glenarthur said.
The Royal couple and the Royal Family had not made any complaint about the nurse's actions in any way, and the hospital had not reprimanded the nurse for being fooled in the prank.