"We need to normalise the conversation about mental health."

Prince William has discussed his mother’s bulimia on camera for the first time, saying he was proud of her for speaking about it publicly.

After reading a hard-hitting article by ITN newsreader Mark Austin about his ‘dangerously ill’ daughter Maddy’s battle with bulimia, William wrote to him.

In his letter, the Daily Mail reports how William praised Mark’s ‘bravery’ and says the article – which talks openly about the struggles the family faced in getting Maddy help – deeply moved him.

Now, the 35-year old features in a Channel 4 documentary produced by Mark called Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia, and during the segment at Kensington Palace, talks openly to Mark and Maddy about Princess Diana’s own illness.

Diana first spoke about her bulimia in her famous interview with the 1995 BBC interview Martin Bashir. During the hour slot, she had the nation hooked as she talked candidly about the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles and how her lack of self-esteem led to battle with bulimia.

She admitted: ‘I didn’t like myself, I was ashamed I couldn’t cope with pressures. I had bulimia for a number of years, and that’s like a secret disease. It’s a repetitive pattern, which is very destructive. It was my escape mechanism.

William tells Mark and Maddy, who is going through recovery: ‘We need to normalise the conversation about mental health. The face that you are speaking out is incredibly brave.’

Maddy responds: ‘I was inspired by what your mum did,’ to which William replies: ‘We need to be matter-of-fact about it, and not hide it in the dark where it festers.’

‘These are illnesses. Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health.’

Marks concludes by saying he ‘took his eye off the ball’ with his daughter, and warns the dad-of-two: ‘I tell you what, William, keep an eye on Charlotte and George.’

Wasting Away: The Truth About Anorexia airs on C4 Thursday 24 August at 10pm

From: GoodToKnow, our sister site. Words by Stephanie Lowe