The family of Kate Middleton's late royal nurse Jacintha Saldanha is speaking out, five years after the woman's tragic suicide. In a new interview with Australia’s WHO magazine, Jacintha's 20-year-old daughter, Janice Pinto, and 21-year-old son, Junal Barboza, candidly opened up about still grieving her 2012 death.
"The first few years were the hardest," Jacintha's daughter said. "She would call me every day at 6 p.m., just before she went to work. To check up. You know, ‘How are you doing? How was school?’ That phone call is what I miss every day." Her son added, "It has just been perseverance. It’s just been a case of having to keep going. Keep going for her."
Jacintha's husband and children in 2012. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Nearly five years ago when Kate was pregnant with her first child, Prince George, now 4, she was admitted to London's King Edward VII Hospital where Jacintha was working as a night nurse. That evening, two Australian DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, called the hospital and pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles seeking information about Kate's well-being. Jacintha, not realizing it was a prank phone call, proceeded to tell the men that the Duchess was suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum.
After the news of Kate's royal pregnancy was released to the world through Jacintha's admission, the mom-of-two felt such immense "guilt and shame" that she hanged herself three days later on Dec. 7, 2012. At the time, the radio DJs said they were "deeply saddened" by Jacintha's death. Prince William also penned a letter to the nurse's family expressing his and Kate's grief. "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," he wrote.
Today, Jacintha's husband and children are establishing a hospital in Mangalore, India, in her honor. "My dad’s idea is really amazing. She had plans to open a nursing home or do something for the elderly or the sick, so it’s something she would really want," her daughter said. Her son added, "She was the sort of person who would always go the extra mile to help a family member, and we’ve had a number of significant letters from people within the medical profession telling us just how good she was at her job."
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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