More than two decades after Princess Diana’s untimely death, we are constantly learning more about the late princess’ life from those who knew her.
During her marriage to Prince Charles, she struggled with an eating disorder and many have wondered if anyone knew about it at the time. Here’s how the princess’ former chef discovered something was wrong and how her lifestyle changed after battling bulimia.
Charles’ comment ‘triggered’ Diana’s eating disorder
The Princess of Wales struggled with bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder in which binge eating occurs and is followed by purging.
Diana spoke about her battle with the disease in her secretly recorded tapes given to biographer Andrew Morton and also during her tell-all Panorama interview in 1995.
She confessed that her eating disorder began after she and Prince Charles got engaged and he made a remark about her figure.
She recalled him touching her waist and saying, “Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?” The princess added that the comment “triggered off something in me.”
Her chef knew ‘something wasn’t right’
Before her admission, few people knew about Diana’s eating disorder but it was suspected by some including her former chef.
Darren McGrady was a cook at Buckingham Palace for more than a decade before he transferred to Kensington Palace and was the princess’ personal chef. Speaking to Hello! he revealed how he realized something was wrong due to Diana’s eating habits.
“I have never talked about the food I prepared for her, the silly things she’d ask for, and I’d never want to and never will, I don’t think it’s right,” he told the publication. “But you know the aiding and abetting the bulimia … I was making dishes for the princess. I always questioned why on earth she wanted all of this food, any of this food.”
McGrady also explained that he did not say anything because he felt it wasn’t his place and at the time, he didn’t fully understand the disease.
“I was there as a chef, my job was to cook and to prepare food. I wasn’t a psychologist, or a doctor, who could say you shouldn’t be eating all of this. I knew something wasn’t right,” he stated. “But I didn’t know or understand what bulimia was,”
Diana later started and stuck to a healthy diet
Eventually, Princess Diana got the help she needed and was able to turn her life around.
“By the time I moved to Kensington Palace, the princess had already confronted the bulimia and talked about it in the hope that other people would. She got her life back on track,” he said.
Diana maintained a healthy lifestyle by sticking to a good diet and exercising regularly.
McGrady said she told him, “‘You take care of the fats, and I’ll take care of the carbs at the gym.’”
He noted that Diana didn’t consume red meat and opted for nutritious dishes like stuffed eggplant but he made it clear that those were her choices as she allowed her children, William and Harry, to enjoy foods other kids ate. Some of the princes’ favorites included pizza, fish sticks, and potato skins.
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