Diana, Princess of Wales (born 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales—the heir apparent to the British throne—and was the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry.
1. Diana had a fractured sleep schedule
Like most mothers, Diana woke often, possibly to attend to her children’s needs in the middle of the night. When Prince Harry had hernia surgery as a child she never left his side, sleeping on a mattress placed on the floor next to his bed, The Mirror reported.
She often slept with a pair of earplugs at home, likely due to early demands. And a set of Diana’s letters not only provided clues into her sleep schedule, but also the state of her marriage. In one letter she wrote, “The honeymoon was a perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep,” Vanity Fair reported.
Next: What’s for breakfast?
2. Her day began with weak coffee and a light breakfast
While Charles enjoyed lapsang souchong tea and bran flakes with honey for breakfast, Diana greeted the day with weak coffee and possibly pink grapefruit, muesli, and toast.
Light eating didn’t end with breakfast. The princess shunned carbs, red meat, and shellfish. Instead she gobbled stuffed peppers and poached chicken, and she adored a small portion of bread and butter pudding.
Next: This is what she tried to do first thing every morning.
3. Exercise was always part of her day
Diana may have used exercise to release stress from her day. She integrated at least three 30-minute sessions of vigorous exercise each week. When possible, she began her day with a morning swim or attended to her children’s needs. If she had no time to swim, she’d fit in a bit of stretching before breakfast.
She also struggled with bulimia, an eating disorder that includes bingeing and purging food. This cycle began during her engagement to Charles, and an exercise obsession possibly took over when she got her bulimia under control, ABS CBN News hypothesized.
Next: She strived for this, often to her own detriment.
4. Diana needed her life and surroundings to be perfect
Life under a magnifying glass can be unbearable, especially when society (and your family) picks apart everything you do. Diana’s quest for perfection began when she developed bulimia after Charles flippantly mentioned she was a “bit chubby,” according to The Daily Star. Her weight plunged in five short months.
Her need for perfection might have also been amplified due to her husband’s affections for another woman, Camilla Parker Bowles. Charles and Camilla were several years older than Diana and shared many interests, leaving the young princess feeling like an outsider. She also craved orderly surroundings, requiring staff to maintain a neat and tidy home.
Next: One staffer said this about her appointment book.
5. Her appointment book ‘terrified’ 1 royal staffer
Diana’s day was so crammed with appearances and appointments one staff member said her overscheduled life was rather disturbing. “I saw her engagement book, which is a terrifying thing,” according to society artist John Merton. “Every hour of the day is booked up for nine months ahead.”
Nearly every minute of the day was planned, including weekends and evenings. This included endless hours of charity work and hand shaking, which often overwhelmed the princess. Diana would sometimes become consumed with sadness after meeting a disadvantaged or handicapped child during her day.
Next: Did Princess Diana ever drink alcohol?
6. This was her rare drink of choice
Although not a big drinker, Princess Diana reportedly had another sweet indulgence, peach bellinis, which are a blend of Prosecco sparkling wine and peach purée or nectar. Supposedly Diana drank them the evening she dressed like a male model and visited a gay bar in disguise, along with Queen legend Freddie Mercury and comedian Cleo Rocos.
On tamer occasions the Princess was known to drink a crisp, dry white wine — always chilled. After her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana cut back on drinking in an effort to have clear, glowing skin. We think she succeeded.
Next: She demanded to try this healthy drink trend.
7. Diana was ahead of this food trend
Juicing was not a normal protocol in the ’80s and ’90s like it is now. But Princess Diana somehow realized the health benefits of juicing her fruits and veggies. McGrady told USA Today that Diana came home one day and said, “‘I need a juicer. I want to start having fresh juices.’ So … I started making juices for her with carrots, celery, parsley, spinach.” Between these habits and her favorite foods, it’s easy to see why Diana seemed to glow with health.
Next: She wasn’t like most royals.
8. She sought a more normal life than most royals
Diana and Charles were the first royals to treat their positions as a job rather than simply living a lavish lifestyle. Past princes and princesses would conduct their days on their own terms, but Charles and Diana used their roles to make a difference.
However, Diana wanted to live a normal life. Her bodyguard told CBS News, “She always said, ‘I want to be normal.’ The tragedy is, with being a member of the royal family, it’s almost impossible to be normal.”
Next: How did Diana and Charles drift apart?
9. Diana and Charles drifted apart quickly after marriage
The writing may have already been on the wall before the wedding as Diana and Charles only saw each other about 12 times beforehand, according to USA Today. During their marriage, the couple had different interests. Charles loved hunting, whereas Diana preferred spending time with the children or reading romance novels, Newsweek reported.
The couple’s marriage truly broke down once Charles began spending more time in the countryside and Diana preferred to be in town. They only saw each other during public appearances and then eventually divorced.