Anyone tasked with portraying Princess Diana onscreen has a lot to consider, but there was one aspect of the late royal's life that Emma Corrin was determined to get right. During a recent interview with the UK's Radio Times, the actor explained that she fought to include Princess Diana's experience with bulimia in Season 4 of The Crown.
According to People, Corrin said that after researching Diana, she wrote a note to the show's producers asking them to include her mental illness and eating disorder so that she could portray her as realistically as possible. "We put together a document that we sent to the script team and said: 'Can you include some of this in the writing because we'd love to really flesh out those scenes?'" she revealed.
"I felt that if we were trying to depict bulimia in an honest way, we had to actually show it — otherwise it's a disservice to anyone who has been through that," the actor continued. "I don't think we should shy away from those conversations; Diana was very candid about her experience with bulimia, and I so admire that." The actor has long been open about how important it was for her to portray the princess' struggles onscreen, telling Variety in October that learning about Diana's eating disorder helped Corrin understand what she went through.
"You can't do justice to everything she was experiencing without including that," she explained, adding that she did heavy research on eating disorders to prepare for the part. "It was so symptomatic of the emotional turmoil and all the suppressed emotions that she was feeling," Corrin added. Diana herself also described her experiences with bulimia as a "symptom" of all of the difficult things she was going through during a 1995 interview with BBC1's Panorama.
"It was a symptom of what was going on in my marriage. I was crying out for help, but giving the wrong signals, and people were using my bulimia as a coat on a hanger. They decided that was the problem: Diana was unstable," Diana said at the time. "The cause was the situation where my husband and I had to keep everything together because we didn't want to disappoint the public, and yet obviously there was a lot of anxiety going on within our four walls."
Learning about Diana's personal struggles also allowed Corrin to connect with the character — especially since the 24-year-old didn't know much about the princess before she started preparing for The Crown. "In retrospect, I think it made it easier in doing this season, to bring my own interpretation to the character, to her," she explained to Variety.
"Growing up, my general impression was just how enamored people were by her," Corrin continued. "I had a sense of the tragedy of what had happened to her, and also I suppose her spirit that people speak of — her being this very generous, empathetic person who broke the mold of the royal family." Season 4 of The Crown premieres on Netflix on Nov. 15.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder and needs help, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline at 1-800-931-2237, text 741741, or chat online with a Helpline volunteer here.