"She liked the fact that I was not familiar with royal protocol," Jenni Rivett said

By Stephanie Petit
February 02, 2021 12:55 PM
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Jenni Rivett; Princess Diana
| Credit: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock; Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Princess Diana's personal trainer is opening up about the late royal's "special bond" with sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

Jenni Rivett began working with Princess Diana in 1991, introducing her to workout trends of the era such as step aerobics, rollerblading and power walking, which the royal did in the gardens of Kensington Palace, the trainer told The Daily Mail.

And sometimes, Prince William and Prince Harry crashed her workout sessions.

"[Her boys] were her whole world and would often join in on our training sessions at Kensington Palace — annoying her occasionally," Rivett said.

The trainer added, "She had a very special bond with William and Harry and would love to embarrass them too — her sense of humor was one of her greatest traits."

Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry
| Credit: Getty
Princess Diana
| Credit: Tony Harris/PA Images via Getty Images

Rivett said she and Diana "had a really great bond" — and the princess was happy to have someone outside the royal circle.

"She liked the fact that I was not familiar with royal protocol," Rivett said, recalling that she didn't know she was supposed to curtsy to her client for years.

"I didn't realize that I had to curtsy to her and only found out four years later when I saw her best friend (whom I also trained) curtseying to her in Kensington Gardens," the trainer recalled. "She laughed when I apologized and said: 'That's why I love you, Jenni...please don't ever curtsy to me.' "

Princess Diana
| Credit: JOHNNY EGGITT/AFP via Getty Images

Rivett trained Princess Diana during her separation from Prince Charles and as she publicly shared her battle with bulimia.

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"She bravely told me — and the world — about her bulimia," she said. "[It] was truly honorable, as it helped so many young women understand [the impact of] eating disorders."

Rivett said she encouraged Diana to eat healthy and believes the workouts helped manage the eating disorder.

"Exercise is such an incredible release for anxiety and other low feelings," she said. "I believe as her body became fit, strong and healthy, she felt empowered and ready to face those bad times head-on."

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In 2017, Prince William said he was "absolutely" proud of his mother for speaking out about her struggles with bulimia during her lifetime.

"These are illnesses," he said. "Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health."