Where is Dr Hasnat Khan now? The true story behind Princess Diana's doomed romance
The royal family was caught up in a web of controversies like a fly in the 90s with no way out. The media was obliterating them as the royal members kept pulling their reputations apart. We had Sarah Ferguson's divorce from Prince Andrew, followed by the infamous toe-sucking scandal. Meanwhile, Princess Anne's divorce from her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, was also getting finalized. On the other hand, the most explosive member of the royal family then, Princess Diana, was struggling with her marriage to Prince Charles. Somewhere around the same time enters Dr Hasnat Khan.
The British-Pakistani heart and lung surgeon is best known for his relationship with Diana, Princess of Wales, from 1995 to 1997. It is said that Diana and Khan met at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, where she was visiting to check up on her friend, Oonagh Toffolo, whose husband was recovering from heart surgery. The two first met at a vending machine in the hospital and got to talking. While talking to Express UK, Khan explained, "I found Diana very down to earth and she made everyone feel at ease. I did notice that she was also very flirtatious with everyone. Over a period of time, we became good friends." Initially, the relationship between the two was nothing but friendship. This part of Diana's life has now been iterated in the storyline of the famous drama series 'The Crown' on Netflix.
The relationship between Diana and Khan changed when they both went on a trip. Khan revealed, "We were chatting one day and I mentioned that I needed to go to my uncle’s house in Stratford-upon-Avon to pick up some books. I did not think for one minute that she would say yes, but I asked her if she would like to come with me. I was very surprised when she said she would." He continued, "We drove there together and Diana met my aunt and uncle. We had dinner in a restaurant and then drove back to London. I think this took place around mid-September 1995. After this, our friendship turned into a relationship." Even though both of them had plans to marry each other, none of them ever proposed.
Where is Dr Hasnat Khan now?
Born on 1 April 1958 in Jhelum, a city in the Punjab province of Pakistan, Khan boats an impressive career as a heart surgeon. Khan has a Bachelor's in medicine, a Bachelor's in surgery, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Till 1991, he worked in Sydney, Australia, before moving to London. He then worked at the Royal Brompton Hospital from 1995 to 1996, then moved on to the London Chest Hospital. After four years, he switched to St Bart's hospital, after which he served at Harefield Hospital. After a thriving career in London, he resigned from his post to lead a cardiac hospital in Malaysia. However, he found his way back to London in 2013 and is now working as a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Basildon University Hospital.
How did media expose Princess Diana and Khan's relationship?
The biggest concern of this relationship was the media, which was already keeping a hard eye on the royal family amidst the controversies. Khan explained that despite Diana trying to save him from the attention, their relationship was exposed by a worker in the hospital. He said, "Diana was very protective towards me and wanted to shield me from the attention. The media found out about us around November 1995, very soon after our relationship started. I think they had already guessed we were seeing each other, but then someone working at the hospital leaked it out. This happened when, as a joke, the Princess arranged for a big pot of flowers to be sent to me at the Royal Brompton."
Khan also explained that Princess Diana considered moving to another country to avoid the media attention, but that plan never worked out. Diana went as far as to consult her butler, Paul Burrell, about the possibility of them getting married in secret. Khan continued, "I know that around the end of 1996 or the beginning of 1997, Diana asked Paul Burrell to talk to a priest about the feasibility of us getting married in secret. I knew nothing about this until afterwards, when both Paul and Diana told me. I do not know the name of the priest that Paul approached."
Princess Diana was on contraceptive pills
The relationship between Diana and Khan was serious. Unhappy with her marriage, she turned to Khan for solace which she found. However, the two never directly talked about getting married or having children. But during their relationship, Khan revealed that Diana was on contraceptive pills. He explained, "We never discussed having children, either married or unmarried, but Diana did mention that she would love to have a girl. During our relationship, Diana was taking the contraceptive pill that was prescribed by a male gynecologist who used to visit her at Kensington Palace. I never met this gynecologist, but, as far as I am aware, the pill was prescribed to Diana because of our relationship and for no other reason."
Princess of Wales meets Dodi Fayed
Everything came to standstill between Diana and Khan when the Princess was persuaded by Mohammed Al Fayed. Khan explained the series of events saying, "I knew that Mr Al Fayed had children, but at that stage I did not know of his eldest son, Dodi. I was surprised when she denied to me that there was anyone else." He continued, "We met in Battersea Park within a couple of days of her returning from Paris. It was at this second meeting that Diana told me that it was all over between us. She denied there was anyone else involved."
Khan explained that he never met Dodi but had read about him in papers saying, "I did not know him personally, but I had read in the press about his business involvements and Diana had given me a general impression of him in the past. It was only when I heard the news on the radio that I learned about Dodi. I think she wanted to be with someone who was happy to be seen with her in public and she could do that with Dodi." According to Khan, "Diana finally realised that Al Fayed could give her all the things I could not. He had money and could provide the necessary security for her. You never see Al Fayed without six or seven bodyguards around him.
Hasnat Khan on Netflix
Khan will be portrayed by actor Humayun Saeed in 'The Crown' season five. Saeed got candid with Variety about his role in the series and said, "Dr. Hasnat Khan and Princess Diana were total opposites. He was a very ordinary man in every way and I feel this is what attracted Princess Diana towards him. His nature and simplicity made him special to Princess Diana. I haven’t played a real-life character on screen and to play the role of Dr. Hasnat Khan, who everyone knows due to Princess Diana, was a huge responsibility. I am confident audiences will love the simplicity of the relationship and how it is portrayed on screen."