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Concerned Prince Charles sought second opinion on troubled Diana after royal doctors believed she had mental disorder

Charles and Diana on their wedding day. Image: Flickr

Prince Charles asked for second opinion on the troubled late Princess of Wales after the Queen’s doctor thought she was suffering from a “dangerous” mental disorder that they fear she might pass on to her children, a letter revealed.

According to the Mail Online, their views are detailed in an extraordinary letter written in February 1983 by psychotherapist Dr. Alan McGlashan, who helped treat the Princess after she “distanced herself” from the royal physicians.

Sir John Battens diagnosed Diana while treating her and he was “plainly scared” and feared it she might cause a “dynastic disaster” which could be passed on to her offspring. A year earlier, Diana threw herself down the main staircase at Sandringham after a fight with Charles, eventually landing at the Queen’s feet. All this happened just a few months after Prince William was born. Then 21-year-old Diana was also believed to be suffering from bulimia, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

Aside from Sir John, she was also treated by Michael Pare, head of St Bartholomew’s psychiatry department; Michael Linnett, Apothecary to the Household of the Prince and Princess of Wales; and a behaviorist, referred to in the letter only as ‘Mitchell’.
The princess eventually stopped seeing Batten’s team so a concerned Prince Charles sought help elsewhere. Charles turned to his mentor, South African-born writer-philosopher Laurens Van der Post, who advised Diana to check with his close friend and contemporary, Dr. Alan McGlashan. Diana shared with McGlashan that Batten and his team gave her anti-depressants and attempted to put her on behavioural therapy.  McGlashan, however, believed that Diana’s problem was not medical, but rather emotion. She was a “very unhappy girl” fighting an oppressive royal family.

“She is a normal girl whose troubles were emotional, not pathological,” McGlashan concludes.  "Her doctors had been treating her as a patient with an obscure and dangerous illness which baffled them... Her symptoms plainly scared them... She complained to me that they all treated her 'as if I were made of porcelain.'"

MgGlashan’s diagnosis came as a relief to Prince Charles. Prince Charles himself later spent 14 years in therapy with the psychiatrist, who died in 1998. A bust of him now stands in Highgrove, reports The Independent.

McGlashan's letters were unearthed during the research for the authorized biography of Van der Post.


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