The Sneaky Way Royal Chef Darren McGrady Knew When Princess Diana Was Upset

Fans of Diana, Princess of Wales, are all too familiar with the struggles she had with eating disorders. But less is said about how she overcame them and the healthy eating habits she eventually acquired before her death in 1997.

Diana's personal chef Darren McGrady, first met the princess in Balmoral when he was working in the pastry kitchen. He finally joined her staff four years before her death, and by that time, the eating disorders were in the past. He said she was "patron of 119 different charities, working out at the gym three days a week, and looking the best she ever did," per YouTube. Her request? "Darren, you take care of all the fats, I'll take care of the carbs at the gym." As a result, McGrady said his cooking changed too, and rich creams and sauces became a thing of the past, to be replaced by healthy eating.

McGrady says Diana was a regular visitor to the kitchen, where she would pop down for a quick chat about anything she might have been interested in at the time. But he also knew when she wasn't happy about something, because the kitchen visits would stop, and the Princess of Wales would choose to eat in her sitting room instead.

When Diana was unhappy, she would avoid the kitchen

The chef recalls a time when "One time, I remember coming to work in the morning, and the princess was going to the gym early. And I raced back, I'd been up home and I raced back from Nottingham sure my hometown and was pulling into Kensington just as she was pulling out. And we stopped inches apart," per YouTube. McGrady says she must have been angry because he was speeding, and she "didn't come into the kitchen for three days." He finally made it up to her by making her lunch and plated it to look like a smiley face. She eventually returned to the kitchen and per McGrady, said "I suppose you think that was funny."

McGrady may have been more forgiving than some other people that have worked with the princess. Months before her death, The Spokesman-Review said her personal trainer Jenni Rivett had claimed Diana had a "mercurial nature," and that Rivett had told the Daily Mirror in April of 1997 that "Diana is looking the best she has ever done now. She is really fit and is more than pleased with the results. But it has been awful at times."

And while Diana called her trainer a "close personal friend," Rivett added that "Everyone thinks Diana is a fairy tale princess but she is really something quite different," she said. "Her temper and mood swings are incredible." Like McGrady, Rivett saw the complex personality behind Princess Diana's public persona.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).