'Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health.’
Words by Marianna Manson
She was lauded as the peoples’ Princess for two decades, and in the wake of the twentieth anniversary of her death, we’re getting more intimate insights than ever into the woman behind the public persona.
Diana never made a secret of her eating disorder, and now Prince William has candidly opened up about her struggle with body image whilst featuring on a new documentary, Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia.
‘We need to be matter-of-fact about it, and not hide it in the dark where it festers,’ says William in the documentary, produced by newsreader Mark Austen and his daughter Maddie, who says Diana going public with her eating disorder helped her own recovery.
Admitting he was ‘proud’ of his mum for bringing issues like hers to public attention, he continued, ‘these things are illnesses and they need to be treated. Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health.’
But Diana herself, in what was pretty forward thinking for the 80’s and 90’s, had always spoken frankly about her struggle with food.
Speaking to the BBC at the time, she said ‘I didn’t like myself, I was ashamed I couldn’t cope with the pressures. I had bulimia for a number of years, and that’s like a secret disease. It’s a repetitive pattern which is very destructive. It was my escape mechanism.’
William, his wife Kate and brother Harry have made headlines recently for their involvement with mental health causes, like the #HeadsTogether campaign by the charity Mind.
‘I really hope George and Charlotte can grow up in a world where mental health is completely normalised 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.’