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Princess Diana’s Openness About Bulimia Still Helps Those With Eating Disorders

For the first time, Prince William is opening up about the powerful message his mother — the late Princess Diana — sent by speaking out about her struggle with an eating disorder.

Appearing in a new documentary, Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia, William discusses his mother’s bulimia, which first became public in the 1992 book Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton, which also detailed her suicide attempts. Although it was not widely known at the time, Diana provided interviews for the book herself. She then discussed it herself in a 1995 interview on the BBC show Panorama.

More: The Shocking Details You Never Knew About Princess Diana’s Life as Royalty

William talked about his mother’s eating disorder with the documentary’s director — British news anchor Mark Austin, whose daughter Maddy had anorexia — stressing the importance of discussion about mental health issues as a way of overcoming them, People reported.

“We need to normalize the conversation about mental health,” William said in the documentary. He also thanked Austin and Maddy for spreading awareness about an issue that is frequently hidden. “The fact that you are speaking out is incredibly brave.”

More: Why Queen Elizabeth Didn’t Publicly Mourn Princess Diana’s Death

Maddy then told William that his mother’s transparency about her struggle with bulimia helped in her own recovery from anorexia. He responded by telling her, “We need to be matter-of-fact about it and not hide it in the dark where it festers,” adding that he was “absolutely” proud of his mother for being open about her eating disorders — especially at a time when few people (let alone royals) did that.

“These are illnesses,” William said in the film. “Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health.”

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