There's no denying that Princess Diana struggled with a lot of different demons throughout her life, particularly with her tireless attempts to fit in with the royal family. But now her one and only private secretary, Patrick Jephson, is speaking out about his experience witnessing Di's battle with anorexia, Radaronline.com has learned.
In a discussion at a Hudson Society event in New York City, Jephson revealed perhaps one of Diana's most vulnerable moments fighting an eating disorder.
"I can't say a particular time I first noticed her anorexia, but it dawned on me that my relationship with food is unhealthy but it's pretty straight forward. I like food, the more the merrier," Jephson said. "And eating royal, you get to eat some very nice meals. And you also have to eat kind of on duty, and you have to eat some strange things in strange countries for good diplomatic reasons."
Diana had a hard time fitting into her new world as a princess, especially following her divorce from Prince Charles, according to Jephson.
"But Diana, she ultimately, very bravely admitted that she had a relationship with food which she described it herself, was 'her wish to dissolve, to disappear," Jephson continued. "It's perhaps a little complicated, and I'm no psychiatrist. But she had felt like an outsider. She had felt that way as a young girl, and certainly still did as a princess."
It was because of her feeling out of place that she decided to take on more challenging charities that the royal family has avoided in the past — charities that involved people who were outsiders themselves.
"She turned that to advantage. She said to me, 'one of the reasons I can talk to people who are in great need and who are suffering great hardship, who are excluded, is that I'm one of them,' Jephson admitted. "In the sense that she felt like an outsider, and this is why with her charity work, she avoided the traditional royal root of predictable, conventional, time honored, rather safe, not to say, but slightly boring stuff."
"She started to do some really challenging stuff. First with AIDS in this city in 1989. We went to the Harlem hospital center, and she went to the AIDS unit there and she picked up a little African American baby dying of AIDS, and this was the first time — the director of the hospital told me — the first anybody in public life in the United States had mentioned AIDS."
"So from AIDS, she had gone to addiction, homelessness, domestic violence, Liprosy — none of the easy stuff. All challenging subjects. Because yes she felt her affinity with people who were excluded who were on the outside, but she also knew that because of her profile she was able to recycle what was a publicly unhappy life into benefit for others who would not otherwise attract anything like the same public interest."
TLC is airing a 3-hour telecast exploring Diana's life, legacy and conspiracy theories surrounding her death. Watch Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason on Monday, July 31 at 8 p.m. ET on TLC.
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