Opinion: How will royal couple react to pregnancy prank?

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge on September 12, 2012 in Singapore.

Story highlights

  • Foster: Incident is a major breach of privacy, whether it was a joke or not
  • William wants to ensure his wife doesn't suffer media intrusion as his mother did, says Foster
  • Observers ask whether William will regard the prank as crossing the line

The fact that anyone managed to phone through to the Duchess of Cambridge's private nurse is a major breach of privacy, whether it was a joke or not.

It will be a major wake-up call for hospital staff and a reminder, as if it were needed, that they have one of the biggest stars in the world in their care.

Read more: Catherine and William baby news sparks media frenzy

There should have been systems in place to confirm the identity of incoming callers. Those taking calls shouldn't be revealing private medical information without confirming who they are talking to.

Hospitals need to be experts in patient confidentiality -- and this particular one is more used than most to dealing with high profile figures. The King Edward VII is now "reviewing its telephone protocols."

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St James' Palace hasn't made a comment on behalf of the duchess. They currently see it as a hospital matter but I wonder if that may change once William and Catherine have had time to discuss it.

    When the French edition of Closer magazine published pictures of Catherine topless during the summer, the palace came down on them with the full force of the law and managed to get an injunction to stop them from republishing the images.

    It wasn't just about righting a wrong, it was also about sending a message to all media to respect the couple's right to a private life.

    At the time, a palace spokesman said: "The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so."

    William wants to make sure his wife doesn't suffer the same kind of media intrusion that his mother did -- and he may see this latest hospital prank as crossing the line as well.

    We are talking about a sick mother in the early stages of pregnancy who was forced into an early announcement of the news. Her nurse revealed private medical information to a radio station which then chose to broadcast it.

    The broadcaster, 2Day FM, "sincerely apologized" and wished Catherine all the best. We will see whether the palace chooses to send another warning message to the media as we enter a year's worth of royal baby news.