Princess Diana Said to Attempt Suicide 5 Times
British newspapers printed allegations that Princess Diana tried to commit suicide five times in despair over her marriage to Prince Charles, and Buckingham Palace on Sunday blamed a newspaper circulation war for the media frenzy.
Diana was said to have flung herself down stairs, cut her wrists with a razor, cut her chest and thighs with a knife, thrown herself at a glass cabinet and cut herself with a lemon slicer in tormented cries for help.
The Sunday Times, which over the weekend started serializing Andrew Morton’s book “Diana--Her True Story” containing the allegations, said they raised questions about the future of the 1,000-year-old British monarchy.
But the rival Sunday Telegraph said no one knows what the truth really is. It urged the Royal Family to break tradition and sue for libel if it disputes stories about the prince and his glamorous wife.
The Sunday Times serialization of Morton’s book follows a story Friday in the Daily Mail, based on another book, Nicholas Davies’ “Diana, a Princess and Her Troubled Marriage,” which said that in 1986 Diana took an overdose of pills.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “We are not prepared to say how he is reacting or how she is reacting. It is not for us to keep a circulation war going with comments one way or another, because that is what it is all about.”
Debate raged across Britain over the accuracy of the allegations and the ethics of reporting the Royal Family’s marital woes. Newspapers jostled to try to outdo the Sunday Times as the royal marriage fell victim to a media frenzy.
Palace officials were adamant that Diana, 30, did not cooperate with Morton’s book in any way after speculation, fueled by press royalty watchers, that she might have sanctioned the work to tell her side of the story.
Morton’s book quotes friends of Diana, who is 12 years Charles’ junior, as saying she has been ill with depression and an eating disorder during the decade-old marriage and was also jealous of his friendship with another woman.
It says the alleged suicide bids, beginning just six months after Diana was married in St. Paul’s Cathedral at age 20, “were not really serious attempts. . . . They were cries for help.”
Andrew Neil, editor of the Sunday Times, which is owned by Australian publishing tycoon Rupert Murdoch, staunchly defended publishing installments of the book, but monarchists interviewed on radio were indignant.
“The Sunday Times has done a great wrong in publishing intimate details of the private life of the Prince and Princess of Wales,” said Conservative legislator Sir John Stokes. “This marks a new low level in the national press.”