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British rock singer Morrissey joined New Zealand talk show Nightline yesterday for an interview and used the opportunity to blame Kate Middleton and the British Royal Family for the death of Jacintha Saldanha — the British nurse who committed suicide last week after being duped by a prank call from two Australian DJs concering Middleton’s visit to the hospital where she worked.
After some opening pleasantries, the New Zealand TV interview took a hard left turn into a discussion of Morrissey’s anti-royalist views.
“Even with the recent story about the nurse killing herself in King Edward Hospital, there’s no blame placed on Kate Middleton who was in the hospital as far as I could see for absolutely no reason,” the singer said. “She feels no shame about the death of this woman; she’s saying nothing about the death of this poor woman. The arrogance of the British royals is staggering, absolutely staggering. And why it’s allowed to be I really don’t know.”
Taking up Middleton’s defense to some extent, the interviewer from New Zealand broadcaster 3News pointed out that the Duchess had married into the family and has a “health condition” [read: reported pregnancy], for which she was seeking treatment.
Morrissey was quick to snap back: “Does she have a health condition?” he asked. “Is it anorexia or is it a pregnancy? We don’t know. But what is the health condition? I mean, morning sickness already? So much hoo-haw and then suddenly as bright as a button; as soon as this poor woman dies, she’s out of hospital. It doesn’t ring true. It doesn’t ring true.
“And I’m sure the Palace and Clarence House [where the Princess of Wales resides] put maximum pressure on this poor receptionist and nurse, and of course that’s kept away from the press. I’m sure the British press hounded this poor woman to her death, and that’s kept away. And by this time next week she’ll be forgotten. And that’s how the British royals work.
The interviewer then pointed out that most media assessments have blamed Saldanha’s death on the two DJs who pranked her.
“But that’s just a way of distracting people really isn’t it,” Morrissey replied. “It was a prank call and they probably didn’t ever think they’d get as far as they did. And I’m sure thousands of prank calls are made to Buckingham Palace every day. People probably do it all the time. The fact they got so far probably astonished them beyond belief. But the pressure put on the woman who connected the callers was probably so enormous that she took her own life.
“It wasn’t because of two DJs in Australia that this woman took her life; it was the pressure around her. And we forget about that and of course the Royals are exonerated as always—they’re just so wonderful. And we focus on something else — two DJs in Australia —which is not how it should be.”
Again playing devil’s (or royals’) advocate, the reporter asked whether they “really are so evil,” noting that the British Royal Family has managed recently to refashion their image into something like a “constitutionally significant” version of the Kardashians.
“They had to do that because they were losing their grip, so they had to try to reinvent themselves and put themselves forward as the Top Shop Royals for now and drag in Kate Middleton and so forth as the voice of youth,” said Morrissey.
“And therefore with the Olympics, with anything else that has happened in recent years, they hijack every event to make sure that any celebration of England is really a celebration of the Royal Family, which of course it isn’t. But the Royal Family believe they are England and nothing else is England… The way they hijack everything and shove their face in is extraordinary. Because what do they say? Please tell me one thing the Queen has ever said, or William and Kate? I mean, they are zombies — but they are a business and it works.”
Morrissey was appearing on the show to promote two concerts he’s scheduled to play in New Zealand later this week, followed by several gigs in Australia. He later performed his single, “You Have Killed Me” for “Nightline.”
Midway through the interview Morrissey’s diatribe reached something of a crescendo, when he compared the Royal Family to the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.
“It’s difficult not to see them as a dictatorship. What else are they? A self-elected monarchy? If you study the history of the monarchy, it’s murder and mayhem and slaughter, so what is there to celebrate? Certainly in England, you can’t say anything against them,” he added.
The singer will kick off a cross-country U.S. tour in early 2013, ending with a gig in Mexico City on March 14.
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