Tragedy struck in December 2012 with a radio prank gone horribly wrong.
Early in Kate Middleton’s pregnancy with her first child, Prince George, two Australian DJs called the hospital she was staying at and impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles in a ploy to receive information about the Duchess of Cambridge’s medical condition.
The nurse who answered, Jacintha Saldanha, took the bait and revealed details about Middleton’s severe morning sickness with the DJs. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, the 46-year-old took her own life three days later.
The palace swiftly issued a statement conveying their sorrow. Later, Prince William personally reached out on his and Middleton’s behalf to Saldanha’s family (her husband and two children), writing, “We were both very shocked to hear about Jacintha, and have been thinking a lot about her recently. Many of the nurses in the hospital spoke highly of her and I’m sure you know how great a nurse she was.”
Since the terrible incident transpired, the Duchess of Cambridge has had two additional pregnancies, and her hospital stays have been kept under tight security.
With Middleton in the early stages of labor on Monday, security measures are in place where she plans to deliver: the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. Both Prince George and Princess Charlotte were delivered at St. Mary’s, as were Prince William and Prince Harry. The prank call incident, however, took place at London’s King Edward VII Hospital.
Despite the tragedy that befell King Edward VII’s Hospital in 2012, it remains frequented by the royal family. Prince Philip was admitted to King Edward in early April for hip surgery. The Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret, died at the same hospital after suffering a stroke in 2002.
Preparations have been underway for Middleton’s delivery at St. Mary’s. Sources report that she is staying in the hospital’s royal suite, which can cost nearly $10,000 per day.
“Security does regular sweeps of the room, then it’s resealed each time with tamper-proof tape,” an insider shared. “It’s a high-security operation. Even the crawl space above the room is checked regularly.”
Reportedly, there’s even a “baby team” in place at Kensington Palace—Kate’s mom, Carole, is said to be a member. The team in question is tasked with arranging everything royal baby-related, from hospital stays to the press.
It seems the Palace is committed to never allowing room for a tragic mistake to happen again.