Of the loves of the Princess of Hearts, he is surely the most discreet. In 1995, Lady Diana had regained the freedom of love she had dreamed of for several years and the end of her chaotic marriage with Prince Charles. Separated, although not yet divorced, the mother of Princes William and Harry has resumed a “normal” life, far from the golds of Buckingham Palace and the royal protocol which had become too heavy for her. Without expecting it, Lady Diana fell in love with the most unexpected. In the morbid corridors of the Royal Brompton Hospital, where she had come to support her friend Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo whose husband had just undergone a triple bypass, the princess fell in love with the surgeon who was taking care of him. Hasnat Khan was then only 36 years old and already a successful medical career.
In a fraction of a second, Diana was already madly in love with the cardiac surgeon, whom she found “magnificent” as she hastened to tell her friend. Too busy saving his patient, he didn’t glance at Lady Diana. “In her entire adult life, Diana, Princess of Wales, has never made such a small impression on anyone,” joked Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo. At the time, a junior surgeon on a modest salary from the National Health Service, the doctor worked 90 hours a week and did not imagine he had time for a love affair. We don’t really know how, but Lady Diana finally managed to arouse the interest of this mysterious man. Two weeks after this unexpected encounter, the two met for the first time. It was at the home of Hasnat Khan’s aunt and uncle.
Lady Di: her ploy to see Hasnat Khan in peace
“I didn’t think for a minute that she would say yes, but I asked her if she wanted to come with me to pick up some books, he said. I was very surprised when she said she was from OK.” “After that, our friendship turned into a romantic relationship,” rewinded Hasnat Khan during an interview with the police in 2004, as part of an investigation into the death of Lady Di. This amorous date was the starting point of a secret love affair. For months, Lady Diana and her surgeon did everything to avoid crossing the paparazzi, who were already gravitating around the princess of hearts. To do this, the majority of their days were spent within Kensington Palace, where they could enjoy the tranquility at their leisure. The couple also enjoyed a few weekends in Chelsea, where Hasnat Khan lived and where Lady Di went to make up with a black wig and sunglasses.
In the arms of the surgeon, the princess of hearts had only one desire: to find a basic life and her anonymity. “She was a very normal person with great qualities and some personal flaws, like bad habits, he confided in a rare interview with Hello! In the end, I think she was a very normal person.” For the then 35-year-old princess, the surgeon not only represented a secret and illicit romance but was a life-saving return to normalcy, to that life away from the spotlight. With him, Diana hoped to find the personal happiness that had long eluded her. A year after the start of their love story far from the paparazzi and the media, the divorce between the Prince of Wales and the princess has been formalized.
Lady Diana: why Hasnat Khan never wanted to marry her
Among the loves and lovers of Lady Diana, Hasnat Khan is an exception. He is, for example, the only one who has not sold his story for millions of pounds despite intense pressure from newspapers and publishers. “We went to the pub together and Diana asked if she could order the drinks because she had never done it before, he told the investigators. She really enjoyed the experience and chatted happily with the bartender. But this normal life to which she aspired so much, Lady Diana got a little tired of it. Happy in the arms of the one she nicknamed “the one”, Lady Di waited patiently for him to ask her for her hand. But Hasnat Khan never put his knees on the ground, terrified by the celebrity of his companion and by the media fallout that their marriage could have had. “He did not want to make himself known, which meant, in fact, that he did not want to marry her”, summed up Vanity Fair, which devoted a long investigation to this secret couple.
Behind Hasnat Khan hovered the shadow of his family, particularly attached to the values of Islam and to Pakistan, his country of origin. “He is not going to marry her, brutally replied the father of the surgeon, questioned then by The Express. We are looking for a wife for him. She must belong to a respectable family.” The surgeon, not reluctant to marry this public figure, tried to convince her to send her life to England. “I told him that the only way for us to have a vaguely normal life together would be to go to Pakistan, because you don’t mind the press there,” he said. At the time, Lady Diana strongly considered this idea, even going so far as to look for a house in South Africa or Australia. But this plan of life was shattered in the summer of 1997. Then invited for a week of relaxation in Saint-Tropez by Dodi Al Fayed, Lady Di succumbed to the charm of this man.
Hasnat Khan: ‘If Diana were alive today, we would have remained very good friends’
“When Diana went to Saint-Tropez with Mr. Al Fayed, everything was fine between us, confided Hasnat Khan. After a few days, I felt that something was wrong. His cell phone kept going on the answering machine.” Back in London, Lady Diana broke up with her last love, without giving him the slightest explanation. He will never have had time to have one since that summer, the princess of hearts died in a road accident which also cost the life of her lover. Hasnat Khan went to the funeral of the mother of Princes William and Harry and then started a new life. Married to a Pakistani aristocrat whose parents had organized the wedding, he quickly divorced and would be in a relationship since 2017. According to Vanity Fair, he still lives in England. “I think if Diana were alive today we would have remained very good friends, whatever she did and who she was with, summed up Diana’s last love. It’s a huge loss when someone very near dies.”
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