The UK’s leading eating disorder charity Beat has warned those struggling with disordered eating to avoid watching The Crown season 5.
The controversial new series has been released on Netflix today (November 8) and includes scenes that refer to Princess Diana’s battle with bulimia nervosa and her mental health.
In episode two, titled The System, Princess Diana (played by Elizabeth Debicki) speaks candidly about her bulimia while secretly recording tapes for author Andrew Morton for his explosive book Diana: Her True Story.
Although Beat has noted the inclusion of this particular storyline can raise awareness, they have stressed anybody who might be unwell evade tuning in.
‘Bulimia is a serious, complex mental illness which impacts an estimated 230,000 people in the UK, Beat’s director of external affairs, Tom Quinn told Metro.co.uk.
‘When TV programmes like The Crown portray eating disorders it can help to raise awareness of the reality of living with these mental illnesses and encourage people to seek support, but it’s crucial that this is done in an accurate and responsible way.
‘For instance, a common misconception is that bulimia only impacts those who are underweight, however the reality is that eating disorders can impact people of any weight, shape, age, gender or background.’
Mr Quinn added: ‘We wouldn’t advise that anybody currently unwell with an eating disorder watches programmes which focus on eating disorders as we know it can be upsetting.
‘If anybody has been affected by anything they have seen, we would encourage them to speak to somebody close to them and reach out to Beat for support if needed.’
While Beat offered guidance on how to report on bulimia responsibly during the fourth series of The Crown, the charity claims is wasn’t approached to work with the show for the fifth season.
Princess Diana famously opened up about her struggles with bulimia nervosa during her infamous BBC interview with Martin Bashir in 1995.
She explained: ‘You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable.’
The late royal admitted that her bulimia was a ‘symptom of what was going on in my marriage’ to Prince Charles, who she divorced in 1996.
‘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,’ she told Bashir.
The Crown season 5 is streaming now on Netflix.
If you suspect you, a family member or friend has an eating disorder, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, for information and advice on the best way to get appropriate treatment