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Hoax caller gets duchess of Cambridge's condition from hospital

December 05, 2012|By Janet Stobart | This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

LONDON -- A hoax call from Australia duped staff at the London hospital where  Catherine Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge, was recovering from acute morning sickness into giving details of her condition, the medical facility revealed Wednesday.

The King Edward VII Hospital, famed for its discretion and favored by the British royal family and other high-profile patients, confirmed Wednesday that an update on the duchess' condition was given to an Australian TV station presenter posing as Queen Elizabeth II.

"King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes can confirm that an Australian radio station made a hoax call to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.   This call was transferred through to a ward and a short conversation was held with one of the nursing staff,” the statement read, adding that the hospital “deeply regrets this incident.”

The duchess is in the early stages of her first pregnancy with her husband, Prince William.

Mel Greig and Michael Christian, hosts of the 2DayFM Radio station -- imitating the voices of the queen and Prince Charles -- were put through to a nurse without delay.

"Kate my darling are you there?” said the fake queen who was answered by a duty nurse. 

“I’m just after my granddaughter, Kate. I wanted to see how her little tummy bug is going," the caller added.

A breathless voice replied, “She was quite dehydrated when she came in.... She's sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night, she's been given some fluids, she's stable at the moment. She hasn’t had any retching with me.”

“Is Wills still there?” called out the fake Prince Charles, who was told William "came in last night."

“This was a foolish prank call that we all deplore," said hospital chief executive John Lofthouse. "We take patient confidentiality extremely seriously and we are now reviewing our telephone protocols.”

In an apologetic statement Radio2FM said: "We were very surprised that our call was put through, we thought we'd be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents. We're very sorry if we've caused any issues and we're glad to hear that Kate is doing well."

Middleton and Prince William, the queen’s eldest grandson, married in April 2011 and received the titles of duke and duchess of Cambridge. Their widely broadcast wedding ceremony sparked immediate speculation as to when a royal heir to the throne would be born.

The duchess was taken to King Edward VII hospital Monday night suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, otherwise known as an acute form of early pregnancy sickness. 

[For the record, 9:45 a.m. Dec. 5: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Queen Elizabeth II as Middleton's mother-in-law. Middleton is married to their grandson.]

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