Friend says Princess Diana discussed move to Pakistan to wed doctor

Published: August 1, 2013

Lady Diana, Princess of Wales (R) and Jemima Khan, wife of Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan, at a variety show in February 1996 in Lahore. Lady Diana was on a private visit to Pakistan to participate in the fund raising campaign for Hasnat Khan’s cancer hospital. SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

GORDON RAYNER
LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH

Diana, Princess of Wales, was so serious about marrying the heart surgeon Hasnat Khan that she asked her friend Jemima Khan for advice on living in Pakistan.

The princess made two trips to Pakistan to meet Hasnat Khan’s family, hoping they would grant their blessing for their son to marry her.

Khan, with whom the princess had a two-year relationship, did not believe they would be able to make marriage work, and told her the only way they could live together would be if she moved to Pakistan, away from the world’s media.

In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, Jemima Khan, whose then husband Imran was a distant cousin of Hasnat Khan, described how Diana turned to her for advice.

She said: “She came to visit me twice in Pakistan to help fundraise 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.”

But the heart surgeon’s family did not approve of the idea.

For a son “to marry an English girl is every conservative Pashtun mother’s worst nightmare,” said Jemima Khan.

Hasnat Khan told the inquest into Diana’s death that he thought marrying her would have been a “ridiculous idea” and that he “told her that the only way I could see us having a vaguely normal life together would be if we went to Pakistan, as the press don’t bother you there.”

The princess died in a car crash in 1997 alongside her then boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.

Friends have said her relationship with Fayed was designed to make Khan jealous, hoping he would reconsider marriage after he ended their relationship.

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