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Princess Diana couldn’t have known how she would handle the pressures of becoming royal. She was thrust into a lifestyle where she was always front and center, especially in the media. Throughout it all, she kept smiling, so many people thought she was alright. But deep down, Diana was suffering and she tried to hurt herself in more ways than one.

Princess Diana tried to harm herself multiple times

Prince Charles and Princess Diana with Prince William
Prince Charles and Princess Diana with Prince William | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The isolation of Princess Diana’s new position got to her, and she didn’t find sympathy from anyone in the Royal Family, including her husband. In Andrew Morton’s royal biography of the Princess, Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words, it was revealed that Diana even tried to harm herself. She told her friends, “One minute I was a nobody, the next minute I was Princess of Wales, mother, media toy, member of the family, and it was just too much for one person to handle.”

Diana’s first suicide attempt

In January 1982, while pregnant during her first New Year’s celebration with the family, she told Prince Charles that she was going to take her life. He accused her of lying and left to go riding. Diana then proceeded to throw herself from the staircase on the Sandringham estate. The Queen was even one of the first people on hand to witness Diana laying there at the bottom of the stairs.

Princess Diana continued to cry out for help

Diana, Princess of Wales holding Prince William with Prince Charles
Diana, Princess of Wales holding Prince William with Prince Charles | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

This wasn’t her last suicide attempt. She made several more attempts to take her own life while crying out for help. “On one occasion she threw herself against a glass display cabinet at Kensington Palace while on another she slashed at her wrists with a razor blade,” Morton wrote. “Another time she cut herself with the serrated edge of a lemon slicer; on yet another occasion, during a heated argument with Charles, she picked up a penknife lying on his dressing table and cut her chest and thighs.”

Diana suffered from an eating disorder

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Suicidal attempts weren’t the only way Diana was trying to harm herself. She was also struggling with a very private battle with bulimia nervosa, a binge and purge disorder. The details were also revealed in Morton’s book on the Princess, in which she was the secret source. She also revealed the information in a famous interview with Martin Bashir in the BBC’s Panorama Interview.

Princess Diana was asked about the bulimia, which she didn’t deny. She was able to keep it hidden from many people for a long time before she finally got the help she desperately needed all along.

“I had bulimia for a number of years. And that’s like a secret disease,” Diana said. “You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort.”

Diana explained that the bulimia was a “symptom” of her marriage and what was happening between the two of them. She was asking for relief and help and wasn’t getting any in return. She was virtually dismissed and she found comfort elsewhere.

“It was a symptom of what was going on in my marriage,” Diana revealed. “I was crying out for help, but giving the wrong signals, and people were using my bulimia as a coat on a hanger: they decided that was the problem – Diana was unstable.”

Princess Diana was asking for help in a number of ways. Looking back, the way she dealt with her suffering is not uncommon. Many people can relate to Diana’s struggles, which just makes it more obvious why she was affectionately known as the “People’s Princess.”