The Destructive Ways Princess Diana Coped With the Pressure of Being Royal

It’s hard to imagine the amount of pressure that Princess Diana was under. Her life was virtually turned upside down overnight when she became engaged to Prince Charles. She finally found her voice and spoke about how she dealt with all of the pressure and the need to perform flawlessly at her job she was given without a manual.

Princess Diana opened up about her struggles

Princess Diana
Diana, Princess of Wales | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

In the now-famous Panorama interview with the BBC’s Martin Bashir in 1995, the Princess of Wales got extremely candid about her experiences and how she tried to cope with her newfound fame. After she had Prince William, Diana suffered from postpartum depression and that made her situation so much more difficult to deal with.

Bashir asked Princess Diana during the interview about press reports around that time that claimed she tried to hurt herself. “Mmm. When no one listens to you, or you feel no one’s listening to you, all sorts of things start to happen,” Diana recalled.

Diana “couldn’t cope”

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Diana explained what it was like for her being in the media constantly and the pressures that were adding up all around her. People thought she was just seeking attention, when in reality she needed help.

“I did inflict upon myself. I didn’t like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn’t cope with the pressures,” she said.

Diana admitted to self-harm

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Jayne Fincher/Getty Images

When asked for specifics, Princess Diana was more candid than arguably any other Royal Family member that has come before her. The walls came down and she admitted that she had tried to harm herself in the past.

“Well, I just hurt my arms and my legs; and I work in environments now where I see women doing similar things and I’m able to understand completely where they’re coming from,” Diana revealed.

How did Prince Charles react?

The Prince and Princess of Wales
The Prince and Princess of Wales | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Diana was asked how Prince Charles reacted to her attempts at self-harm. “Well, I didn’t actually always do it in front of him. But obviously anyone who loves someone would be very concerned about it,” she said.

According to the Princess, Prince Charles didn’t fully comprehend why she was injuring herself. But ironically, being the center of attention actually helped propel Diana through this difficult period in her life.

“And in a way by being out in public they supported me, although they weren’t aware just how much healing they were giving me, and it carried me through.”

Princess Diana suffered from bulimia

Princess Diana also suffered from bulimia nervosa for years. She believed the destructive behavior gave her comfort in a time when nothing else would. She struggled with the problem for many years to come.

In Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story, in which Diana was the secret source in prerecorded conversations, it was first revealed to the public that she suffered from bulimia nervosa. “The bulimia started the week after we got engaged (and would take nearly a decade to overcome),” Diana said.

“I think she slimmed before the wedding as a result of nerves, and then the whole thing was triggered during her honeymoon, when her husband put his arms round her and said, ‘You are a bit chubby, darling,’” Morton wrote.

Diana would purge herself depending on the pressure on any given day. And to be the Princess of Wales, the pressure and need to perform at her best was paramount. She eventually overcame all of her suffering and issues related to the stress she was under.

What Princess Diana experienced is something people go through all over the world. Diana was relatable because she was just like everyone else. She was the “People’s Princess.”