It has been 20 years since the tragic passing of Princess Diana, the extraordinary woman who touched so many lives. As time continues to pass, those who held her close openly reflect on her life. One person willing to share a piece of his cherished encounters is 55-year-old Darren McGrady.
Darren McGrady was Princess Diana’s personal chef for the four years leading up to her tragic death and, before her, he was personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II. McGrady reflected on bonding with the Princess and the fear he felt following the divorce of her and Prince Charles.
“I thought ‘Oh my gosh I’ll never see her again,’” expressed McGrady. “But then I got a call asking if I would be interested in being her chef so I moved across to Kensington Palace.”
Diana’s crippling marriage prompted her battle with bulimia.
At that point, McGrady said, Diana had matured, gotten assistance for her eating disorder and grown fond of healthy eating. She would often ask for McGrady to prepare healthier versions of her favorite meals.
“One time she said, ‘Make me the tomato mousse you made for President Ronald Reagan at Windsor Castle,’ and I said, ‘You can’t have that, Your Royal Highness, it’s got mayonnaise, sour cream, it’s got double cream.’ She said, ‘Well, make me a fat-free version.'”
From that point, McGrady began refining his recipes. He shared that he would remove the fat from her chicken and dip her potatoes in egg whites and paprika. “She wanted to eat healthy. She looked the best she ever did.”
However, it wasn’t all nuts and raisins with the princess. She would indulge but only when she was with her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The boys were permitted to eat whatever they wanted.
“I remember the princess came into the kitchen one day and said, ‘Cancel lunch for the boys. I’m taking them out, we’re going to McDonald’s,’” the chef said.
Inspired by Diana’s love of charity, McGrady now lends a hand to the community by cooking for the homeless and volunteering his services when time permits.