'I Hated Myself': Princess Diana's Mental Health Struggles Nearly Destroyed Her

princess diana
Source: MEGA

Diana, Princess of Wales, struggled with mental health issues throughout her life.

Nov. 24 2023, Published 5:12 p.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

Perhaps the lowest point in Diana's marriage, indeed, of her life, was when she threw herself down the stairs when she was three months pregnant with Prince William. It wasn't the first time she'd tried to harm herself, and it wasn't the last. But Prince Charles' reaction to what so easily could have been a terrible tragedy spoke volumes about just how a woman as vibrant and nurturing as Diana could have sunk so low.

On the tapes she recorded for biographer Andrew Morton — the first time the suicide attempt became public knowledge — Diana spoke almost matter-of-factly about the drama. She revealed her husband's cold-blooded response to her heartbreaking cry for help while they were staying at the Queen's country retreat at Sandringham, Norfolk.

Article continues below advertisement
princess diana
Source: MEGA

From 1981-1983, Diana, Princess of Wales, lost an 'alarming' amount of weight from the eating disorder bulimia nervosa.

When Diana appealed to Charles, revealing just how desperate she was feeling with depression and "appalling" morning sickness, he complained she was "crying wolf" and was leaving to go riding. Charles went riding anyway. When he returned, it was "total dismissal. He just carried on out the door." It wasn't like the 1982 drama was anything new. In all, Diana admitted she tried to kill herself another four times in despair over her loveless marriage.

She cut her wrists with a razor, slashed her chest and thighs with a knife, threw herself at a glass cabinet, and stabbed herself with a lemon slicer, so unhappy was she in her gilded cage.

She also fought a long and emotionally traumatizing battle for years with bulimia, a struggle that started before her marriage. In fact, said Diana, it started with a throwaway, cruel remark by her husband-to-be. The supposedly happy couple were at a photo call on the lawn of Buckingham Palace on February 24, 1981, for Diana to show off her exquisite 18-carat sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

Article continues below advertisement
princess diana
Source: MEGA

Diana, Princess of Wales, lost a drastic amount of weight in the weeks leading up to her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.

Swept along in the romance of the proposal, Diana was all smiles until Charles, his hand around her waist, suddenly pulled it free, exclaiming his bride-to-be had become rather "chubby." She was mortified. Diana studied pictures of herself in the newspapers. She thought she looked fat. And so the eating disorders that would plague her for much of her marriage began in earnest as she secretly began purging her food.

Between her first fitting for her wedding gown with designer Elizabeth Emanuel and her last, Diana's waist shrunk from 29 inches to 23.5. The bulimia left Diana wasting away. Bizarrely, nobody noticed. Everyone was too caught up in the fairy tale to want to hear the increasingly ugly truth.

On the eve of the wedding, while the world was excitedly waiting for the big day, Diana was busy stuffing herself with food and then purging it in a cycle of sickness. The royals and their friends found it "quite amusing" that Diana could eat so much and never put on any weight. Some knew what was going on- but nobody ever mentioned it. Five years into the marriage, Charles was aware of both the bulimia and his wife's attempts to hurt herself. But he remained emotionally detached and wouldn't acknowledge her illness.

When she tried to explain how she was feeling, he wouldn't listen. Another time, she said she was "running around with a lemon knife, one with the serrated edges."

Article continues below advertisement
princess diana
Source: MEGA

Diana, Princess of Wales, looking unwell and exhausted at a 1986 royal engagement.

Suspicions that not all was well surfaced during the couple's May 1986 Canadian tour when Diana passed out. She put her arm around Charles' shoulder and said, "Darling, I think I'm about to disappear," and she slid down the side of him. How did Charles react? He was angry with Diana for embarrassing him and suggested she "should have fainted quietly somewhere else, behind a door," the one-time future queen added.

Publicly, Diana knew she was seen as a fairy-tale princess who would turn everything she touched "into gold" and help them forget all their worries.

She admitted to having doubts about herself and it was only when she finally got help to treat the bulimia that she regained control of her life. In 1988, she said she finally decided that enough was enough and she had to face her demons head-on with the help of therapy. The great tragedy was that with her self-esteem regained and being finally comfortable in her own body and with her position, the time Diana had left would be cut so tragically short.

Article continues below advertisement
princess diana
Source: MEGA

By the time of her tragic death in 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, as starting to regain her health and mental well-being.

Source: TRO
Advertisement

GET BREAKING ROYAL NEWS
STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX.

More Stories

Opt-out of personalized ads

© Copyright 2024 Empire Media Group, Inc. The Royal Observer is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.