Did Princess Diana’s bulimia play a role in her marriage breakdown?

Camilla Parker Bowles, right, and Lady Diana Spencer (later the Princess of Wales) in 1980.Credit:AP

Diana takes a spoonful of chocolate mousse, then moves on to a pastry, then pudding. She savours every bite, exhaling with pleasure. Here is the future princess basking in the glory of an empty castle with a fully stocked fridge that her old flatmates would no doubt squeal in joy over.

But the next scene tells a different story, introducing into the show – a fictional drama inspired by true events – the disease that Diana struggled with for years. Her head is over the toilet. She is vomiting up the desserts she just ate. The sounds are disturbing.

Lady Diana has bulimia.

The arc of Diana’s transformation from house cleaner to princess to a jilted, damaged soul plays out over the course of the show’s fourth season. Many of her scenes are painful and true, including a bizarre lunch she had with Camilla before the wedding. But Diana’s struggles with bulimia are the most jarring.

She spoke openly about the disease before her death in 1997.

“You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable,” she told the BBC’s Martin Bashir in 1995. “You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort. It’s like having a pair of arms around you, but it’s … temporary. Then you’re disgusted at the bloatedness of your stomach, and then you bring it all up again.”

The Princess and Prince of Wales wave from their carriage on their wedding day.

The Princess and Prince of Wales wave from their carriage on their wedding day.Credit:PA/AP

The bulimia began early in her troubled relationship with Charles, she told biographer Andrew Morton.

“My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: ‘Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?’ and that triggered off something in me – and the Camilla thing, I was desperate, desperate,” she said.

On her honeymoon, Diana was vomiting three or four times a day.

“By then, the bulimia was appalling, absolutely appalling,” she told Morton. “Anything I could find I would gobble up and be sick two minutes later.”

There were many strains on the marriage. The prince’s continued love for Camilla. The constant presence of the paparazzi. The rigid monarchy and a distant mother-in-law who was also the queen of England.

But inside the family’s many castles, the royals blamed the couple’s troubles on Diana’s eating disorder.

In a conversation with the queen, Diana told Morton, “she indicated to me that the reason why our marriage had gone downhill was because Prince Charles was having such a difficult time with my bulimia.”

This startled her.


“She hung her coat on the hook, so to speak,” Diana said. “And it made me realise that they all saw that as the cause of the marriage problems and not one of the symptoms.”

The princess told Bashir in the BBC interview that some members of the royal family thought she was wasting food.

This startled Bashir.

“What was said?” he asked.

“Well, it was just, ‘I suppose you’re going to waste that food later on?’ And that was pressure in itself,” Diana said. “And of course I would, because it was my release valve.”

Diana’s eating disorder continues throughout the fourth season of The Crown, including during and after the surreal lunch she shared with Camilla. (Though the lunch took place both off screen and on, it’s not known whether she actually vomited after it.)

Diana told Bashir that the disease continued for several years until she got professional help. And she never shied away from talking about it – especially as a symptom, not the cause, of her troubled marriage.

“Anything good I ever did,” Diana told Bashir, “nobody ever said a thing, never said, ‘Well done’ or ‘Was it OK?’ But if I tripped up, which invariably I did, because I was new at the game, a ton of bricks came down on me.”


“How did you cope with that?” Bashir asked.

“Well, obviously, there were lots of tears,” she said, “and one could dive into the bulimia, into escape.”

The Washington Post

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Opinion | I’m a Democracy Expert. I Never Thought We’d Be So Close to a Breakdown.

With Democrats accounting for a much larger share of mail-in ballots than Republicans, Mr. Trump has repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of these votes. If he is leading even narrowly on Tuesday night, he could claim victory based only on the votes so far counted — even though Joe Biden might well be on course to win when all valid votes are counted. Worse, he might pressure the Republican legislatures in battleground states, like Pennsylvania and Florida, to award him their state’s electors, even if the formal vote-counting machinery ultimately declares a Biden victory in the state. Then it would fall to the courts and Congress (under the terms of the inscrutable, badly written Electoral Count Act of 1887) to determine who had won in the disputed states.

Such a scenario would be far more dire and polarizing than even the Bush v. Gore nightmare of 2000, with an incumbent president threatening fire and brimstone if the election were not handed to him, while signaling violent right-wing extremists to “stand by” but perhaps no longer “stand down.” Many on the left would no longer be willing to let the presidency (in their eyes) be stolen from them again, and far-left groups might revel in the chance to worsen the crisis. The potential for violence would be alarming.

The integrity of the election is further challenged by the rising pace of voter suppression. In 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, throwing out the formula requiring nine states (and other localities) with a history of racist voter suppression to obtain federal permission before changing their voting requirements. Since then, these and other Republican-controlled states have imposed legal and administrative changes that have made voting more difficult for Black Americans, Hispanics, young people and city dwellers — all heavily Democratic constituencies.

It would be undemocratic enough for the loser of the national popular vote to again be elected (for the third time in the past seven presidential elections) by winning the Electoral College. But if Mr. Trump were to win re-election by narrowly prevailing in two or three states through extensive disqualification of mail-in ballots or through voter suppression, the legitimacy of the 2020 election could be questioned far more intensely than those of 2000 or 2016. And if Mr. Trump failed to win the Electoral College but was nonetheless declared president thanks to partisan electors, it would signify a grave breakdown of American democracy — even if people remained free to speak, write and publish as they pleased.

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Wests Tigers fullback Adam Doueihi overwhelmed with support after on-field breakdown as he prepares for first clash with second cousin and Sydney Roosters assistant Michael Cheika

“Josh Mansour called me straight after his game, my cousin Michael Cheika called me early in the week, Robbie Farah, the Souths boys have been messaging me and the Knights team.

“It’s been a tough week as a Lebanese community and the support I’ve got from the Tigers, the NRL, my friends and all the people that have sent me messages or gave me a call has honestly been overwhelming for us as a community.

Adam Doueihi breaks down at full-time.

Adam Doueihi breaks down at full-time.
Credit:Getty Images

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Their last-gasp win over the Bulldogs has kept their faint finals hopes alive, but they will need to beat the Roosters, the two-time defending premiers, to keep pace with the Rabbitohs and Sharks.


Cheika crossed codes and joined Robinson’s coaching staff after the Wallabies bowed out of last year’s World Cup as Doueihi weighed up interest from the Tricolours before his off-season switch to the Tigers.

Cheika even spoke to Doueihi about the prospect of heading to Bondi and will sit in Robinson’s coaching box for the clash at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday as a member of the Roosters’ biosecurity bubble.

“He’s loving it,” Doueihi said of Cheika’s league switch. “It’s a new experience for him. He’s never been in an NRL system and I know he likes learning new ideas and I guess to work under Robbo, who has gone back to back … there’s no better bloke to learn off.

“He was in my ear a bit [over summer], even when I finished school and he was the Wallabies coach he was always open and honest with me about whether to go to union or league.

“He called me last weekend and was asking for my game plan already. I’ll chat to him during the week and try to get the inside scoop and pass it onto ‘Madge’. I’m glad he’s in the bubble with them, he’s a big figure not only in union but also in league.”

The Tigers will play competition heavyweights the Panthers after the Roosters clash and still have matches to come against the Storm and Eels.

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