In 2012, news of Jacintha Saldana’s tragic suicide left the public utterly shocked and speechless. The 46-year-old nurse, who served Prince William and Kate Middleton, hanged herself on Dec. 7, 2012, after accidentally revealing details of Kate’s first pregnancy due to a prank gone wrong.
The cruel ploy, now dubbed as the “royal hoax call,” involved Mel Greig and Mike Christian, two DJs working for Australia’s 2Day FM. In what was meant to be a funny trick, Greig and Christian impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and called the London’s King Edward VII Hospital, where Kate Middleton was being treated for her hyperemesis gravidarum or severe morning sickness. The Duchess was then pregnant with Prince George.
Saldana was working the night shift at the hospital. When the DJs, who Saldana thought were her royal superiors, asked for crucial information about Kate Middleton’s condition, the nurse willingly obliged. The prank was aired and Saldana felt intense pressure from the media. Overcome with guilt, she was found dead at the nurses’ quarters three days later.
According to Aol.com, Prince William and Kate Middleton were both shocked and saddened by their nurse’s untimely passing. After her death, the Duke of Cambridge sent a personal letter to her family.
“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.”
Now, five years into the awful tragedy, Saldana’s children are finally speaking up. Junal and Janice Saldana, who were only 16 and 15-years-old at the time of her death, recently opened up to Australia’s WHO Magazine to honor their mother.
“The first few years were the hardest,” Janice stated.
“I felt that I could have dropped out of [the university] at any moment with the amount of stress we had to deal with,” Junal added. Now 21-years-old, he is one year away from graduating.
“But it’s just been a case of having to keep going. Keep going for her.”
After the royal hoax call, Jacintha Saldana’s family received a substantial amount from the Southern Cross Austereo – the parent company of the DJs’ radio station. They decided to use the money for a good cause to honor their mother’s memory.
The Saldana family is currently working closely with a charity in India to build a 200-bed hospital in Mangalore, Jacintha’s hometown. According to Janice, her mom has always been passionate about helping other people. Establishing a hospital in her province would have been the royal nurse’s dream.
“From a young age, she has always been about helping other people. I love the fact that it will be something that she would have planned to do; something she would have wanted if she had retired.”
The hospital is slated to be completed in mid-2018.