Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles fell far short of a fairytale. When the two first tied the knot, nobody on the outside fully understand how difficult it was for Diana to go through with the wedding. The late princess, who eventually opened up about her eating disorder after the couple’s separation, recalled that she had a “bad fit of bulimia” the night before the wedding — and called it a sign of how much damage was being done.
Princess Diana didn’t want to marry Prince Charles
When Diana and Charles began dating, neither was sure it was a good idea. Diana was more than a dozen years younger than the prince, and the princess once said their age gap left her too immature to fully understand what was going on.
Charles had returned from serving in the Navy and needed a wife. He had known Diana from dating her sister, and the family felt Diana would be a great option for the prince. The two spent some time together, but when Charles proposed after only 12 dates, Diana laughed in shock. She ultimately said yes, but Charles was still in love with Camilla, and Diana knew she never had a true connection with him. When she tried to call off the wedding the day before, her sisters told her it was too late to “chicken out.”
Diana revealed she had a ‘bad fit of bulimia’ the night before the wedding
Two days before the couple’s wedding, Diana learned that Charles had gone to see Camilla and give her a gift. The stress of knowing the two were having an affair weighed heavily on her, and she recalled crying in the days leading up to tying the knot. “I sobbed my eyes out,” Diana said in her recordings to biographer Andrew Morton. “Absolutely collapsed and it was collapsing because of all sorts of things.”
Diana said her bulimia returned the night before the wedding. “I had a very bad fit of bulimia,” she said. “I ate everything I could possibly find… I was sick as a parrot that night. It was such an indication of what was going on.”
Diana was ‘very calm’ the morning of the wedding
There were a lot of emotions running through the princess prior to walking down the aisle. But she recalled that, on the morning of the wedding, she was at ease. “I was very calm the next morning when we were getting up at Clarence House,” she said.
“Must have been awake about 5 a.m… I was very, very calm. Deathly calm.” Diana referred to herself as a “lamb to the slaughter” when she knew she had to go through with a wedding later that day. “I knew it and couldn’t do anything about it.”
Diana opened up about bulimia affecting her at other points in her marriage, including when Charles told the princess she looked “a bit chubby.” She once said it took her more than a decade to overcome her eating disorder.
How to get help: In the U.S. call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237.