Princess Diana struggled with bulimia for years after her marriage. She spoke candidly about the eating disorder during her tell-all interview of 1995.
When the world came to know of Diana's engagement to Prince Charles, many thought it was going to be a perfect fairy tale of a young girl and her princess charming. However, unlike popular perception, Diana's life did not unfold well.
Soon after the engagement, the princess was affected by Charles's insensitive comment. In the documentary, Charles and Di: The Truth Behind Their Wedding, Elizabeth Emanuel who designed Diana's wedding dress revealed that the princess went through a drastic weight loss just weeks before her wedding. She stated Diana's waist size was 29 inches when they started the designing process. As her wedding day approached, Diana's waist became 23 inches.
“She was losing so much [weight] we even had to start again a couple of times,” said the designer, according to Cheat Sheet. She added, "We put it down to nerves. But it did make it incredibly difficult for us to get on with making the dress. We had to keep taking the bodice in and changing the pattern. The last thing we wanted was to make it up in silk, then have to play around with that. Silk soon looks worn if you work it too much.”
At the time, nobody was aware of the real reason that resulted in Diana reducing to a waist size that was considered as “a healthy waist measurement for a 12-year-old.”
However, years later, during her tell-all Panorama interview in 1995, the princess confessed that she suffered from an eating disorder called Bulimia. She claimed that it started shortly after her engagement when Charles commented on her figure. According to Cheat Sheet, the princess recalled Charles touching her waist and saying, "Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?”
The comment acted as a trigger and the princess began losing weight profusely. “I had shrunk into nothing from February to July. I had shrunk to nothing," said Diana at the time. She also claimed that her husband's relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles too served as a reason for her disorder. She further described bulimia as a “symptom of what was going on in my marriage," according to Oprah Magazine.
She added, "I didn’t like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn’t cope with the pressures. I had bulimia for a number of years, and that's like a secret disease...It's a repetitive pattern which is very destructive to yourself."
Diana who was very candid about her eating struggles also confirmed that the people in the palace were very well aware of her disorder. However, they did not empathize with her situation. "Everyone in the family knew about the bulimia, and everyone blamed the bulimia for the failure of the marriage," said Diana.
Fortunately, Diana overcame the disorder after a decade of fighting it. Moreover, she became an encouragement to those who were going through similar health conditions.