British Royal Family

There's an important reason why Princess Diana's battle with bulimia was included in The Crown's new season

Portrayed by British up-and-comer Emma Corrin, the harrowing storyline delves into one of the People's Princess' biggest struggles behind the scenes.

By Jess Pullar
This article discusses eating disorders and may be triggering for some readers - If you or someone you know needs assistance with an eating disorder, please call the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Some scenes spark anticipation, or joy, or exasperation - but in the new season of The Crown, there's one moment that will stay with you for an entirely different reason.
We're referencing the striking depiction of Princess Diana's battle with bulimia, something she spoke about in the years following her deepest, darkest moments of strife within the royal family.
As a show that strives to create a realistic interpretation of the most momentous events in recent royal history, the storyline is an important one - but apparently, it almost didn't make it to the final cut.
Played by British up-and-coming actress Emma Corrin, Princess Diana and Prince Charles' early years of courtship and subsequent marriage is depicted in season four of the hit Netflix series.
Among her struggles with the press and the ever-entangled love triangle with Camilla Parker-Bowles and Prince Charles, Princess Diana's deepest anguishes are laid bare in the stirring episodes.
The royal previously spoke of her battle with bulimia, revealed in Andrew Morton's 1997 book, Diana: Her True Story, Diana said: "The bulimia started the week after we got engaged. My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: 'Oh, a bit chubby here, aren't we?' and that triggered off something in me."
She continued: "And the Camilla thing… The first time I was measured for my wedding dress, I was 29 inches around the waist. The day I got married, I was 23½ inches. I had shrunk into nothing from February to July."
Princess Diana secretly struggled with bulimia after she became engaged to Prince Charles. (Getty)
The harrowing scenes play out in The Crown's new season, with actress Emma Corrin truly embodying the raw despair and helplessness felt by the People's Princess as she was thrust into royal life.
But interestingly, the bulimia aspect of Diana's story almost didn't make it.
According to Emma, she requested the scenes be included in the show's storyline.
She told the Radio Times: "I felt that if we were trying to depict bulimia in an honest way, we had to show it. Otherwise it's a disservice to anyone who has been through that. Diana was very candid about her experience, I so admire that."
Emma Corrin gives an incredibly realistic portrayal of Diana in the early 1980s. (Netflix)
While the direct triggers of Diana's bulimia werw not fully specified in the new series, it certainly seems to come from Diana's sense of loneliness and helplessness.
Diana herself spoke further about her eating disorder's origins in 1995, telling Martin Bashir: "You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don't think you're worthy or valuable."
"You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort."
"We can talk about stuff and it is not a weakness and not to be ashamed of," Prince William has since said of his mother's battle with bulimia. (Image: Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy documentary)
Years after Diana's untimely passing, Prince William praised his late mother for being so open about her illness.
In 2017, the future King of England sat down with British journalist Mark Austin and his daughter, Maddy, who made a full recovery after being diagnosed with anorexia in 2012, Prince William explained that talking about mental health was the key to overcoming it.
"These things are illnesses and they need to be treated. Mental health needs to be taken as seriously as physical health," he said.
"We need to be matter-of-fact about it, and not hide it in the dark where it festers."
Then when asked by Austin if he was proud of his mother's honesty in opening up about her eating disorder, the father-of-two replied: "Absolutely."
"I really hope George and Charlotte can grow up in a world where mental health is completely normalised and where we can all talk about it openly and honestly. We can talk about stuff and it is not a weakness and not to be ashamed of," the royal added.
*If you or someone you know needs assistance with an eating disorder, please call the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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