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11 Secrets You Never Knew About Princess Diana’s Love Affair

We give you an intimate look at the man who stole Princess Diana’s heart and their private relationship.

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Hasnat Khan Pegged As The Lover of The Late Princess Diana
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“The one” for the princess

Princess Diana reportedly had her fair share of fleeting affairs, but there was only one man she fell head over heels for: Hasnat Khan, a 36-year-old Pakistani heart surgeon. These are the secrets behind their two-year-long whirlwind romance, according to The Diana Chronicles written by journalist Tina Brown. Plus, learn more about Khan himself.

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Princess Diana at Brompton Hospital
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She called him ‘The One’

It was love at first sight for Diana when she met Dr. Khan for the first time in 1995 at the Royal Brompton Hospital. He was treating her healer Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo’s husband, who had suffered a massive hemorrhage during his triple bypass operation. After Khan left the room, she squealed like a school girl to Oonagh over the doctor’s gorgeous looks and caring eyes—a scene that The Crown Season 5 covers. “I found my peace,” Diana later confessed to one of her confidants after they started dating. “He has given me all the things I need.” She even had a nickname for him: Natty.

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Princess Diana royal tour pakistan
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She did whatever she could to win over his affections

In an effort to show her respect and undying devotion to her new lover, Diana completely immersed herself in his Pakistani culture. Her closet was filled with shalwar kameez, the colorful silk tunic and trousers that many Pakistani women traditionally wear.  She made numerous trips to Pakistan to learn about his heritage and roots and considered converting to Islam for Khan. The princess also became infatuated with studying cardiology. A thick copy of Gray’s Anatomy and piles of surgical reports supposedly lay on her night table. Plus, she even watched him perform open-heart surgery. Get a look at times Diana’s body language told the real story.

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Princess Diana at Brompton Hospital

She’d sneak into the hospital to spend the night with him

Diana and Khan would often have sleepovers in his small overnight room at the hospital after one of his late-night shifts. But she’d always make sure she returned to the palace at dawn before any of the staff noticed her absence. She almost got caught once by a tabloid photographer who snapped a photo of her arriving at the hospital at midnight to meet up with Khan. Fortunately, she was able to cover her tracks fast. She ripped the phone out of the photographer’s hand, called up the tabloid and told them she was visiting with terminally ill patients to bring them comfort. A few days later, the tabloid published a story with the headline “My Secret Nights as an Angel,” but little did they know that the princess had pulled a fast one on them. The tabloids were blind to the real reason she was at the hospital, just like they didn’t know 9 secrets no one knew about Princess Diana until after her death.

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Princess Diana before divorce
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They didn’t consummate until after the divorce

The lovebirds started dating well before Diana and Prince Charles’ divorce was finalized, but Khan’s morals as a Muslim made him draw the line at physical intimacy with a married woman. They decided to only take things to the next level once her divorce became official. Here’s how much money Princess Diana reportedly got from her divorce to Prince Charles.

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Princess Diana's lover Dr. Khan

He never liked the limelight

Despite being a well-respected heart doctor, Khan preferred to remain under-the-radar. But dating one of the world’s most prominent celebrities didn’t exactly keep him out of the limelight. He dreaded being an object of the public eye and had no desire to live the high life. Diana even offered to buy him a new car, but the humble doctor always refused her extravagant gifts. He especially didn’t want to be known in the tabloids as “Di’s New Guy.” Get a look at some stunning, rarely seen photos of Princess Diana.

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Kensington Palace
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She transformed a room in Kensington Palace for him

Diana turned the former equerries’ room in her apartment at Kensington Palace into Khan’s very own basement den to relax and unwind in on his days off. He would often sit in his new man cave watching football while he drank a can of Heineken. In addition to personalizing rooms in the Palace, there are 8 other rules Princess Diana’s legacy changed for good.

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Princess Diana

She liked to play housewife with him

Diana enjoyed cooking dinner for Khan on the weekends when the staff was off. It was a nice change for her to step back from her privileged lifestyle and act like a normal, regular woman. She’d often spend the day cleaning his one-bedroom apartment, from vacuuming and ironing his shirts to washing the dishes. Find out some conspiracy theories that still surround Princess Diana’s death.

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Princess Diana
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She wanted to have a secret marriage

Since their romance was still very hush-hush, Diana asked her butler and friend, Paul Burrell, to ask a priest about the possibility of a secret marriage. Burrell visited the priest at the church where his son was an altar boy, but the news was quite grim. He said it was practically impossible to marry a couple without notifying the authorities or even the fiancé! When Khan found out about Diana’s secret escapade, he said in aghast, “Do you honestly think you can just bring a priest here and get married?” These are the things Princess Diana could have lost if she got remarried.

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Princess Diana
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He stopped speaking to her for three weeks

If you publicly deny your relationship to the entire world like Diana did, you could get thrown into the doghouse for a long time. The Sunday Mirror was one of the first publication to ignite the rumor mill on their relationship. In an effort to do damage control and keep their romance out of the spotlight, a panicked Diana called up a reporter at the Daily Mail to tell him that the Mirror’s story was completely fabricated. The newspaper reported that Diana was “understood to be deeply upset at the allegations because of the hurt they will do to William and Henry.” She even said that she and her friends were in laughing fits over the preposterous lies. The counter-story may have saved them in the public eye, but it created a major rift between the couple behind closed doors. He was equally hurt by both her silly convoluted denial and the story itself. As if the humiliation wasn’t bad enough, he also began receiving racist threats in the mail. The endless drama forced Khan to give her the cold shoulder for three weeks.

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Princess Diana royal tour of Pakistan
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His family didn’t approve of her

Diana’s former status as a royal princess still wasn’t good enough to win over the Khan family’s approval. You see, Khan was a Pathan, a group of people between Pakistan and Afghanistan notable for their fierce loyalty to cultural traditions. After two failed attempts to marry Khan off to a suitable Muslim bride, they began to grow impatient. But the affluent Khans weren’t going to give up on their oldest child that easily! In an exclusive interview with the Daily Express, Khan’s father, Dr. Rashid Khan, made it very clear that Diana had no chance of ever being a suitable bride for their son. “He is not going to marry her,” he said. “We are looking for a bride for him. She should be rich, among the upper middle class. She should at least be a Pakistani Muslim girl.” If you were shocked to learn about Diana’s secret love affair, you won’t believe these 10 fascinating facts you never knew about Princess Diana.

Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.