For Princess Diana, Hasnat Khan was the love of her life. She was ready to get married to him and had even introduced him to her sons.
Princess Diana died in Paris in August 1997 with then-boyfriend Dodi Fayed, who had reportedly purchased a diamond ring for her. It was meant to be an engagement ring, Fayed's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, the then-owner of Harrod's, had said. However, the princess's friends have said that she never intended to marry Fayed. In fact, she had still been in love with the man whom she called her "Mr. Wonderful."
When Hasnat Khan, 62, met Princess Diana, he was a junior surgeon at the Royal Brompton Hospital and lived in Chelsea. The first time they met, he was abrupt with her and it was probably the first time anyone reacted to her that way. Khan was a Pakistani heart surgeon who captured one of the most famous women's hearts with only one look.
Diana, who had been officially separated from Prince Charles since 1992, met Khan on September 1, 1995. The royal lady had been there to meet a friend, Oonagh Toffolo's husband, Joseph, who underwent a triple-bypass surgery a day before. Khan had assisted the surgery and was in the room to tell Toffolo that Joseph would need another surgery. The surgeon and the princess were introduced by Toffolo. Khan just nodded at the princess and left.
"It is doubtful if in her entire adult life Diana, the Princess of Wales, had ever made less of an impression on someone!," Toffolo wrote in the Mirror, as per Vanity Fair. The princess commented on the surgeon to her friend, "Oonagh, isn’t he drop-dead gorgeous?" She didn't miss any details either, "And his name is Hasnat Khan. It’s written on his shoes."
He wasn't attracted to her right away and she had to keep coming back to the hospital to get his attention. Eventually, as their first date, he asked her to go on a drive with him to pick up books from his uncle's home. "I did not think for one minute that she would say yes, but I asked her if she would like to come with me," the surgeon said, according to the transcript of his interview with the police.
"I was very surprised when she said she would." She met his uncle, Omar and Jane in Stratford-upon-Avon, after which they had dinner and drove back to London. "After this, our friendship turned into a relationship,” he said.
She would visit the hospital often, sometimes in the middle of the night, to meet him. "I found Diana very down to earth, and she made everyone feel at ease," Khan told police in his official interview in 2004. "I did notice that she was also very flirtatious with everyone."
Her fascination with him couldn't have been explained by anyone. One friend tried though, "When you think of the kind of men Diana must have met or been with or seen — here is a man who is completely and totally selfless. She said she'd never met anybody like him."
For Diana, Khan became the love of her life, the only person who would never use her to his advantage. "Everybody sells me out," she told a friend the summer of her death. "Hasnat is the one person who will never sell me out." For her, he was her "Mr. Wonderful," she told Simone Simmons, her energy healer. It wasn't just his personality she fell for. Diana added that Hasnat had "dark-brown velvet eyes that you could just sink into."
And, that is true. He has been discrete about their relationship except when he was asked to present his testimony during an inquest into Diana's death. When the movie, Diana, starring Naomi Watts as the princess, was being written, he refused to cooperate with the makers. The movie was meant to be about Diana's last two years, of which he was a central part.
She had tried hard to be part of his normal life since she wanted that kind of stability in her life but it didn't work out. She wanted to marry him but Khan didn't want to look over his shoulder all the time because of the press that followed her. She had also introduced him to her sons, but eventually, they broke up.
“If I married her, our marriage would not last for more than a year. We are culturally so different from each other,” his father claimed Hasnat said, as per Daily Mail. "She is from Venus and I am from Mars. If it ever happened, it would be like a marriage from two different planets."