Princess Diana was "madly in love" with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan to the point where she considered moving to Pakistan so he would feel comfortable outside of the constant glare of the media, one of her close friends told Vanity Fair for its September issue.
Jemima Khan, a close friend of the princess and former wife of Hasnat Khan's distant cousin Imran Khan, told Vanity Fair
contributing editor Sarah Ellison that Princess Diana realized her secret romance with Hasnat Khan, which lasted from 1995 to 1997, was full of "pitfalls," including his conservative Pakistani family.
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"(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," Jemima Khan told Vanity Fair. "She wanted to know how hard it had been for me to adapt to life in Pakistan."
Ellison said that friends of the princess told her Diana sought the approval of Hasnat Khan's mother Naheed.
Jemima Khan told Vanity Fair that for a Pakistani "son to marry an English girl is every conservative Pashtun mother’s worst nightmare. You send your son to be educated in England and he comes back with an English bride. It’s something they dread."
In Khan's official interview with police after Princess Diana's death, he told them he thought marrying Diana was 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," says Vanity Fair.
Princess Diana died with then-boyfriend Dodi al-Fayed Aug. 31, 1997, in a car crash in Paris after initially fleeing paparazzi.
Friends of Diana told Ellison that the princess broke off the relationship out of frustration that Khan would not agree to marry, or even to go public.
"He hated the thought of being in the glare of publicity for the rest of his life," Jemima Khan told Vanity Fair.
Naomi Watts will play the princess in the movie "Diana," due out in September, which will focus on Diana's relationship with Khan and her campaign against landmines.
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