Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Princess Diana and Reflexology
Princess Diana received notable press coverage during her lifetime—including coverage of regular reflexology services, as many as three times a week. Press coverage included reports of Prince Charles, a long time advocate of alternative practices, reading reflexology books. For a brief period of time her sister-in-law Sarah Ferguson gained fame for a photographed toe-sucking incident with a paramour.
A collection of newspaper reports about Princess Diana and reflexology serve as both a commentary of the times and of her celebrity. Sadly, one published article tells of Princess Diana’s reflexologist selling letters from her after her death.
March 4, 2004, Jane Kerr, The Mirror (London)
“Letters written by Princess Diana to her reflexologist fetched pounds 26,000 at auction yesterday. … “The collection of 19 cards and notes to therapist Chryssie Fitzgerald express some of Diana's frustrations. … “They were sold separately and had only been expected to raise pounds 15,000. … “Most interest was in a letters dated October 1994 telling of her reaction to James Hewitt's revelations of their affair. … “Diana wrote: “Last week was the toughest yet. I did everything I could to keep myself above water.” … “Mirror columnist James Whitaker said the sale in Swindon, Wilts was another breach of trust.”
Aug. 1997, Diana, Commemorative Issue, Newsweek, “In the end Diana looked less like a royal and more like a sleek Manhattan socialite. For one thing she was well groomed. She got manicures and pedicures, had foot reflexology three times a week.”
Jan. 16, 1996 Star, “How She Got the Body to Die For,” Princess Diana is said to use “foot massage” to help maintain her figure.
Mar. 1996, Luxury Life-styles of the Rich and Famous, “Special Issue: Natural Health Remedies Stars Use - And They Really Work!, Plus the healing power of massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, teas, reflexology and meditation,” “reflexology - Getting to the root of the problem,” Sub heading: Princess Di ‘Walking on air'’after royal rubdowns” “Princess Di believes that the way to good health is through her feet. She's reportedly sought the treatment of a London Reflexologist to help her with recurring back pain and with her bulimia battle. ‘She's been walking on air since she’s been getting the treatments for her aching back,’ said a palace insider.”
June 4, 1996 “Her (Princes Diana’s) daily beauty routine consists of gym workouts, reflexology, tennis lessons and professional blow drying sessions. Weight training has rearranged her physique, while it is rumored that plastic surgeons
and dentists have rearranged her proboscis and her smile. And then there's her well-documented fondness for high-colonics and aromatherapy treatments.” (“Her Royal Chicness
Princess Di Is More Of A Clotheshorse Than A Fashion Thoroughbred,” By Teresa Wiltz, Chicago Tribune)
June 7, 1994 Star, p. 6, “Secret Shopaholic, How Di blows $227,000 a year on clothes, hairdos, vacations and massages,” Among “Therapy” expenses listed for Princess Diana of England is “Reflexology (foot massage) weekly … $2657”
June 11, 1996, Star, “Learn Di's Beauty and Health Secrets from head to toe - inside out” by Judy Wade, “reflexology: For more than five years Diana has visited a Knightsbridge clinic run by Chryssie Fitzgerald for a foot massage to stimulate the blood supply and nerves to relieve tension. Cost: $50 an hour." p. 25
June 21,1994, Star, “Dashing Di,” “(Princess) Di had just come from a regular visit to a Chinese foot massage clinic in Beauchamp Place when she noticed she was attracting a crowd, so she made a run for her car.”
Nov. 1994, Vogue, It is reported that Princess Diana visits a reflexologist weekly.
Jul. 22, 1993, Evening Standard, “Confessions of a therapy junkie … As Princess Diana visits yet another alternative therapist, Caroline Phillips looks at why she, too, feels compelled to try every new treatment that comes along - no matter how bizarre,” Listed in a side bar “Diana's Guide to Alternative Therapy” is reflexology “Yesterday it was revealed that the Princess has been having her feet massaged, stimulating the blood supply and nerves and relieving tension.”
Jul. 22, 1993. Today, p. 7, “Body and Sole, Why Di’s feet are made for healing everything from backache to asthma” by Dominic Midgley, “Reflexology is the medical term for the secret tootsie-tickling session Di had undergone when she was pictured leaving the Oriental medical centre in Knightsbridge yesterday.” A reflexology chart is included in this article about Princess Diana as well as comments by customers and practitioners.
Jul. 22, 1993 Daily Express, “Princess puts her best foot forward at clinic” by Jack Lee and Annie Leask, Princess Di escaped from the cares of the world yesterday with a soothing foot massage. She went to a plush London clinic for a session of her favorite alternative - reflexology.”
Aug. 17, 1993 Globe, p. 23, “How Di’s Toe Jobs Heel All Her Ills,” A full color reflexology chart and a photo of a bare-footed Princess Diana accompany an article about the Princess and reflexology. “The thirty-two year old royal has been hot-footing it to her local reflexologist, who manipulates pressure points on her feet to five what ails her the boot …’But Diana's not the only one getting the rubdown - Fergie and the queen have tried it also.'’”
Aug. 22, 1993 Parade, p. 2, “Personality Parade,” A response to a question about Sarah Ferguson ends with the comment, "the fun-loving duchess continues to kick up her toes - when they're not being sucked by her wealthy friend from Texas, John Bryan.”
Aug. 29, 1993 Star, “Di Blows Her Top,” ”An incident with a photographer and Princess Diana is reported. Included is the comment “She also has reflexology treatments where therapists manipulate pressure points on her feet.”
May 28, 1991, Inside Edition (television), The British Royal Family is reported to have an interest in alternative health practices. Reflexology services are cited as giving Diana her energy.
Oct. 7, 1990, National Enquirer, p. 37, “As Marriage Crumbles & Pressure Builds ... Princess Di Becomes a Human Pincushion - in Bizarre Battle to Beat Stress,” In a desperate bid to beat stress, Princess Di has turned to several far-out treatments - reflexology, aromatherapy and a back-crunching form of Japanese massage called shiatsu . . Charles - a strong believer in holistic medicine and natural cures - suggested Di try an acupuncturist Besides the acupuncture and Japanese massage, Di also undergoes aroma therapy and foot massage, called reflexology.”
Mar. 6, 1989, Today (British newspaper), p. 26, “These feet were made for talking” by Sandra Parsons, A newspaper columnist samples the services of reflexologist Michael Keet. The Duchess of York, the Queen and Princess Diana are cited as “converts” to reflexology.
Aug. 1988, Ladies Home Journal, p. 162. “All about Fergie,” by Susie Pearson and David Thomas, The Duchess of York, the former Sarah Ferguson, is profiled. Included is a description of the Duchess and Princess Diana as clients of Joseph Corvo, “practitioner of the so-called discipline of Zone therapy. The treatment involves massaging fifteen specific nerve endings on the face which are said to revitalize eleven areas of the body.”
July 15, 1986, The Sun, p. 6, “How Prince Charles uses strange cures to stay healthy” by David Molina, “reflexology is a more recent practice the Prince has explored in his quest to stay healthy. It holds that the feet contain thousands of nerve endings which, when massaged, lessen pain or even promote healing.”
Unknown 1985, National Enquirer, “Charles & Di's Royal Rift: He's Become Obsessed with His Health, She Goes to Parties Alone” by Dan Schwartz, A review of Prince Charles’ health pursuits. “‘At the palace he has virtually ignored Diana during evenings to study books on reflexology - a fad therapy which involves ‘clearing the body's 10 vertical energy channels by massaging different areas of the feet. Charles is hooked on it.’”