Princess Diana went on camera herself to discuss her eating disorder in 1995 — she confessed to a vicious battle with low self-esteem and bulimia — and now her son Prince William is finally following suit.
Eating disorders have often been dealt with callously and clumsily — especially by the media, and especially during the ’90s. The gorgeous mother of two spoke about her disorder in a refreshingly open interview, recalling, “I didn’t like myself. I was ashamed I couldn’t cope with the pressures.” Bulimia is intricately tied with feelings of self-worth and value; it’s about much more than just weight loss.
Princess Diana wanted her listeners to understand this. “I had bulimia for a number of years, and that’s like a secret disease,” she said. “It’s a repetitive pattern which is very destructive. It was my escape mechanism.”
Prince William is undoubtedly dedicated to the open discussion and awareness of mental health disorders. He and his brother, Harry, have dedicated much of their philanthropy to erasing the stigma around mental health and to increasing available resources for those experiencing struggle. However, he hadn’t addressed one of the most widespread mental health disorders of the century: eating disorders.
Even more jarringly, Prince William has never before mentioned his mother’s dark drama with food — until now. He confessed his feelings about her struggle for a British documentary called Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia.
Prince William had previously contacted the documentary’s filmmaker, Mark Austin, after reading a moving account of Austin’s efforts to help his daughter overcome a life-threatening war with anorexia. William applauded his bravery in speaking out and confessed an emotional connection to the family’s experience.
In Austin’s documentary, William expressed how proud he was of his mother’s vocal account of her disorder. “These things are illnesses, and they need to be treated,” he said. “I really hope George and Charlotte can grow up in a world where mental health is completely normalized and where we can all talk about it openly and honestly. We can talk about stuff and it is not a weakness and not to be ashamed of.”
This honesty is exactly the cause William works for every day with his charity organization Heads Together. Hopefully, more conversations like this one can increase the public’s awareness of eating disorders, and eventually make seeking treatment realistic for everyone experiencing the life-threatening struggle. More than two decades after Diana’s confession, these disorders are still rampant — in the younger generation more than ever.