The Herald

I tried to ring Diana the night she died but I could not get through

Surgeon lover tells of their two-year affair

- MIKE TAYLOR

DETAILS of the two-year romance between Diana, Princess of Wales, and heart surgeon Hasnat Khan were revealed in court yesterday – along with his insistence that it was she and not he who broke off the affair.

In a long-awaited statement read to the jury at the inquest into Diana’s death 10 years ago, Dr Khan said he told Diana on her return to London from a holiday with Mohamed al Fayed and his family that he thought she had “met someone else from the Mohamed al Fayed contingent”.

He said this because “Diana was not her normal self”, he said.

“I did not know who it was. It could have been a bodyguard or anyone,” said Dr Khan. “I was surprised when she said there was no-one else.

“At a second meeting, she said it was all over between us, but she denied there was anyone else.”

Dr Khan said he told Diana he thought “her reputation was dead”. It was only when he heard news broadcasts that he learned about her relationsh­ip with Mr al Fayed’s son, Dodi.

“I tried to ring Diana the night she died, but could not get through to her,” he said. “I later found out that she had changed her number.”

In earlier evidence, the jury inquiring into the deaths of Diana and Dodi in a Paris car crash had heard that Dr Khan was believed to have broken off the affair because he could not tolerate the publicity attached to her celebrity status.

Dr Khan, 48, who had refused to give direct evidence via video-link from his home in Pakistan, said in his written statement that he met Diana in August or September 1995 through her interest in the lifesaving surgery being carried out at the Royal Brompton hospital in London.

He had no problems with the personal relationsh­ip that developed between them, except with the media attention it brought. The couple would meet at Kensington Palace or at his home – the only places where the media “could not get to us”.

She introduced him to Princes William and Harry because she wanted them to know what was going on in her life.

His main concern was that “my life would become hell because of who she was”.

Dr Khan recalled how he and Diana went to a pub and she asked if she could order the drinks because she had never done so before. She enjoyed the experience and chatted to the barman.

And in one of their attempts to avoid detection, Diana wore a black wig on a visit to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho.

In the end, he told her that the only way they could live anything near a normal life would be to move to Pakistan where the press did not bother people.

Diana went to Pakistan and talked to Jemima Khan, who was then married to cricketert­urned-politician Imran Khan.

“Later I got the impression she did not consider living there a possibilit­y,” said Dr Khan.

Dr Khan said he learned, after the event, that around the end of 1996 or early 1997, Diana asked royal butler Paul Burrell to talk to a priest about the feasibilit­y of them getting married in secret.

“I thought it was a ridiculous idea,” Dr Khan said. “She just said everything would be all right. That was her answer to everything – it will turn out all right.”

Dr Khan said he did not know the royal family and did not know whether it would have been a problem to them if he and Diana had married.

He said Diana was concerned about her personal safety, but “not paranoid” about it.

She told him the brakes of her Audi had been tampered with, and she believed one of her protection officers had been murdered and that her phone lines were being monitored. But he never heard anything to suggest she was mentally unstable.

Dr Khan said that, because of his relationsh­ip with Diana, he received anonymous threatenin­g letters containing cut-out pictures of him with a noose around his neck. He destroyed that material.

As far as he knew, the only person who would have objected to him marrying Diana would have been her mother, Frances Shand Kydd.

Diana was “always very compliment­ary about the Queen”, he said. “Although she did not like the Duke of Edinburgh, she never expressed any fear of him.”

Dr Khan said he believed Diana finally realised that Dodi “could give her all the things I could not”, including the security she wanted.

He thought it unlikely that Diana would have agreed to marry Dodi within only three or four weeks of getting to know him.

He stated he had “no views” regarding the conspiracy theories over Diana’s death.

“I think it was just a terrible accident, but I am very surprised she was not wearing a seatbelt,” said Dr Khan.

Dr Khan said he believed Diana had protected him from the media “perhaps because she thought we had a future together”.

The inquest continues today.

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 ?? Pictures: Rex and AP ?? END OF THE AFFAIR: Dr Hasnat Khan said in his statement that it was Diana who broke off their affair, but she denied anyone else was involved.
Pictures: Rex and AP END OF THE AFFAIR: Dr Hasnat Khan said in his statement that it was Diana who broke off their affair, but she denied anyone else was involved.

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