Princesses Can Have It Too: Princess Diana’s Battle With Bulimia


Everyone knows who Princess Diana is. A beloved princess, a wonderful mother, a star of the media, and a frail woman who endured so much only to come out as stronger than ever. In the 20th anniversary of her death, the first-ever heard ‘Diana tapes’, a series of secret recordings of her interview with Andrew Morton about her life and loveless marriage, found a shocking discovery. Princess Diana admitted suffering from bulimia, and had to find “a therapist near me or else.”

 …people who restrict will obviously begin to lose weight, wear baggier clothing to hide it, move their food around on the plate but not eat it, chew food and spit it out. Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA

Where It All Began – ‘Oh a bit chubby here aren’t we?’


Prince Charles proposed to the 19-year old Diana on the February of 1981. Only a week after the proposal, she was only standing in front of the mirror when Prince Charles came behind her, grabbed her on the waist, and said: “Oh a bit chubby here aren’t we?”. According to the Diana Tapes, after Prince Charles had said that, something ‘triggered’ inside of the princess. Unknown to her, it was her old-time enemy: bulimia.

Her bulimia ‘shrunk (her) into nothing’ – from 29 inches to 23 and a half inches – in just seven months before her wedding. The first time she made herself sick, she stated: “I was so thrilled because I thought this was the release of tension.” This continued for years after they got married. The Royal Family knew of her eating disorder, but instead of supporting her and encouraging to find help, they blamed her disorder with the dysfunctionality of her marriage with the Prince of Wales, even though he was cheating on her for Camilla Parker Bowles. Princess Diana confessed in the secret tapes that she had tried to kill herself at least five times. The Royal Family, especially her husband, did not know what to do with her.

 Most in the eating disorder professional community agree that to some extent, nature, and indeed nurture and environment are significant contributors and all together they provide a more well rounded opportunity to figuring out causation. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Her Road to Recovery

It was a difficult challenge for Princess Diana, not only to battle against her eating disorder without the support of her family, but also to recognize that she had a problem and it needed to be fixed. One concerned friend of hers came to her one day and gave her an ultimatum: find a nearby therapist or have the entire world know that she had bulimia. This ultimatum prompted Princess Diana to embark in the road to recovery.


Princess Diana came in contact once again with her old therapist, Dr. James Colthurst, who had known her since 17. She underwent therapy sessions with him, in which she found out that the circumstances that were given to her were the cause of her anxiety and bulimia. After getting treated from bulimia, Princess Diana was eager to follow a healthy diet regimen. She hired Chef Darren McGrady, the previous chef of Queen Elizabeth the II, to cook for her in the Kensington Palace. She instructed him to keep her food green and red meat-free. Her meals had no fats, and she would go to the gym every day. She had become as healthy as a fiddle.



Princess Diana had grown from a frail and sickly girl to a strong, confident woman who was befitting of her namesake – the goddess of the hunt. Her legacy had proved the world that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. Alexis Conason Psy.D.