When Princess Diana married into the royal family in 1981, she was immediately thrust into the worldwide spotlight. But, many people didn’t know the People’s Princess was sadly suffering from an eating disorder behind closed doors.

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Diana’s long battle with bulimia was revealed in detail in royal biographer Andrew Morton’s 1992 book, Diana: Her True Story. According to the author, Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother first suffered from the disorder at age 20 in 1981 — the same year she tied the knot with Prince Charles — and continued to battle bulimia throughout the 1980s. Diana once admitted that she became obsessed with food and dieting after hearing media comments about her “pudgy” appearance.

When her marriage to Charles began to dissolve in the mid-1990s, Diana’s eating disorder became worse as she tried to fill her emotional emptiness with food. Around this time, Diana bravely began to publicly speak out about her battle with bulimia, which in turn inspired others around the world to seek help for their eating disorders.

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“I have it, on very good authority, that the quest for perfection our society demands can leave the individual gasping for breath at every turn. This pressure inevitably extends into the way we look. Eating disorders, whether it be anorexia or bulimia, show how an individual can turn the nourishment of the body into a painful attack on themselves. And they have, at their core, a far deeper problem than mere vanity,” Diana once said during a candid speech on the topic.

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Diana and Charles in 1981. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“Yes, people are dying from eating disorders. Yet all of us can help prevent the seeds of this disease from developing. As parents, teachers, family, and friends, we have an obligation to care for our children in ways that clearly show our children that we value them. They, in their turn, will then learn how to value themselves,” she continued.

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Princess Diana’s mission to raise awareness about eating disorders was just one of the many causes she felt passionately about during her life. She also worked with HIV/AIDS patients, crusaded against the use of landmines, and was a patron for those affected by cancer.

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