They said/We said: Is Kate Middleton becoming “thinspiration” for those suffering from eating disorders?

Photography by WPA Pool/Pool

By Louise Coleman

Any bride-to-be can sympathize with Kate Middleton wanting to look her best before her big day. But while the Duchess has always been slender, it’s rumoured that Kate’s continuous weight loss has taken her from a healthy US size 6 or 8 to a size 0.

With pictures of Kate Middleton’s new figure appearing worldwide, the impact of her weight loss has taken a frightening turn. She has become “thinspiration” or “thinspo” in pro-ana vernacular—imagery inspiring those suffering from eating disorders to lose weight.

On one pro-ana website, visitors leave comments on the discussion forum about how excited they are to shed weight through the “Kate Middleton diet” or “Dukan diet” in order to be as thin as the Middleton women. Other blogs have a collection of pictures of the Duchess with comments like: “She is very pretty and skinny. Great post.”

While it has been said that she’s had to alter her clothes to fit her new frame, friends of Kate say she does not have an eating disorder and she would be “horrified” to learn that she’s being idolized on these sites.


Lynn S. Grefe, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Eating Disorders Association: “These sites are very, very dangerous … Eating disorders are biologically based psychiatric illnesses, and these sites promote being sick and staying sick … bottom line, they delay treatment.” [MSNBC]

Jill M. Pollack, Director of the Center for the Study of Anorexia and Bulimia: Every little girl at one time wants to be a princess, and these images will not only reach teenagers but middle and elementary schoolers… To have the Middleton sisters [on pro-anorexic sites] is like, oh my God, a disaster waiting to happen.” [Hollywood Life]

Emilie Dingfeld, copy editor: “As is the case with all body image–related issues, it’s not only dangerous to compare oneself to another in the media, but it’s also unfair to criticize from afar. One can only hope that she continues to take good care of herself and that the focus shifts away from her body weight and onto a healthier subject.”