07.31.13 5:07 PM ET
Princess Diana Was Ready To Move To Pakistan To Be With Surgeon Hasnat Khan
A new article in the forthcoming issue of Vanity Fair about Princess Diana's 1995-to-1997 relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan claims that Diana was 'madly in love' with Hasnat and was ready to move to Pakistan to be with him.
The article is timed to co-incide with the new film, 'Diana', starring Naomi Watts.
Jemima Khan, Diana’s close friend and the former wife of Hasnat’s distant cousin Imran Khan, tells VF writer Sarah Ellison, “Diana was madly in love with Hasnat Khan and wanted to marry him, even if that meant living in Pakistan, and that’s one of the reasons why we became friends.”
Jemima Khan tells Ellison that Diana “came to visit me twice in Pakistan to help fund-raise for Imran’s hospital, but both times she also went to meet his family secretly to discuss the possibility of marriage to Hasnat. She wanted to know how hard it had been for me to adapt to life in Pakistan.”
Friends tell Ellison that Diana made a point to get to know Khan’s family, specifically seeking the approval of his mother, Naheed. For a “son to marry an English girl is every conservative Pashtun mother’s worst nightmare,” Jemima tells Ellison. “You send your son to be educated in England and he comes back with an English bride. It’s something they dread.”
On one visit to Pakistan, Diana spent time with Imran’s sisters, Aleema and Rhanee, and in order to avoid press attention, they decided to drive themselves to the family’s home in the Model Town neighborhood of Lahore—Diana knew the address by heart. Stuck in a traffic jam, Aleema realized they were with the mother of the future King of England without bodyguards or drivers, “like sitting ducks.” As people began to recognize Diana, pointing toward the car and waving, “she was entirely unflappable . . . she rolled her window down, smiled, and waved.”
“Everybody sells me out,” Diana told a friend the summer of her death. “Hasnat is the one person who will never sell me out.”