| Princess Diana
Islamabad, Dec. 16: The Pakistani-origin heart surgeon widely regarded as Princess Diana’s greatest love reluctantly decided not to marry her because their cultural differences would have torn them apart, it can be revealed.
Hasnat Khan ended his relationship with Diana only months before her death after concluding that a marriage between them would be doomed to failure.
Khan told his family: “If I married her, our marriage would not last for more than a year. We are culturally so different from each other. She is from Venus and I am from Mars. If it ever happened, it would be like a marriage from two different planets.”
His comments were disclosed yesterday by Abdul Rasheed Khan, the surgeon’s wealthy father, in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph from his home in Pakistan.
Khan said his son had explained to him that Diana was “independent” and “outgoing”. But, added to their different faiths, it meant that his son — despite considering asking her to marry him — could not envisage their relationship lasting.
The inquest into the princess’s death heard evidence last week from one of her closest friends, Rosa Monckton, that Diana had no plans to marry her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, who died with her in a Paris car crash 10 years ago, and that she was still infatuated with the surgeon.
Monckton said Diana had been “deeply upset and hurt” when Hasnat broke off their relationship in the summer of 1997.
“She was very much in love with him. She hoped that they would be able to have a future together. She wanted to marry him,” she told the hearing.
Hasnat, 48, who until last month worked in Britain, had a two-year relationship with Diana from 1995. She stayed at his Chelsea flat in London, and he stayed at her home in Kensington Palace.
However, they always tried to keep their affair discreet and he has never talked publicly about his deep feelings for her.
It is understood that at one point Diana was willing to convert to Islam in order to marry him but abandoned the idea when he took the decision that their relationship could not work in the long term.
Hasnat’s father said he had met Diana during her visit to Lahore in 1996, when she wore a traditional salwar kameez out of respect for the family’s faith.
“We met for about an hour or so for the first time,” said Khan. “She was a very nice woman and we talked about various subjects. She was into a social work and she was very keen to do something in Pakistan about leprosy. She visited our house in Jehlum several times. She was very humble. I liked her demeanour.”
Khan said he had only heard of the supposed plans for his son to marry Diana through reports in the British media. But he then asked his son whether it was true that he intended to marry her.
Khan said: “He told me straight away, ‘Daddy, I am not (going to marry her). If I ever married her, our marriage would not survive more than a year.”
Khan and his family own a glass factory in Jehlum in central Punjab. His son resigned as a consultant earlier this year from Bart’s and the Royal London Hospitals after 12 years with the NHS and left Britain last month for Pakistan after marrying 29-year-old Hadia Sher Ali, a descendant of Afghan royalty.
Before leaving the UK, he said he was “surprised” he had not been called to give evidence at the inquest. “I would have attended if I had been asked,” he said.
Monckton’s evidence last week contradicted suggestions from others close to Mohamed Fayed, Dodi’s father, that his son and Diana were about to announce their engagement.
The Sunday Telegraph