Diana’s love affair with Pakistan ~ 1
August 31, 1997 – In a car crash at the Place de l’Alma tunnel, Paris, Britain lost its Princess of Wales, and, millions across the world, the Queen of their hearts…
Princess Diana with her two sons, Harry and William – RD
Princess Diana will never be forgotten for her social activism, her exceptional charity work, awareness of global issues, love for the world’s poor, her energetic charm, an unmatched fashion sense, electrifying charisma and for her absolutely stunning beauty.
Much has been said and talked about Lady Diana, her work and her personal life. Of all things, what in particular is of interest to us, here, is her connection with the land that we call our home, Pakistan.
Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother, while talking to a live forum with BBC’s royal correspondent, Jennie Bond as the host, spoke of how her sister, Diana, felt about Pakistan:
‘Diana adored Pakistan. It was this strange spiritual connection this very English girl had with such a different culture and I think America and Pakistan were the two places where she felt most at home.’
In Lahore, at the Badshahi Masjid, September 25, 1991 – toufeeque at Flickr
After Prince Charles & Diana’s fairy-tale marriage, Princess Diana’s first official solo tour was of Pakistan as Prince Charles was to collect her as he returned from nearby Nepal. It was a memorable trip for the fact that Diana did too well for her first royal tour and took Pakistan by storm. She was exceptional in all her official engagements and from Islamabad to Lahore, won people’s hearts wherever she went. It was the first time Diana developed a liking for this country for this particular tour gave her the confidence to go ‘solo’ in search of freedom from a marriage sadly gone wrong.
Lady Diana, holding a terminally ill child while sitting with Jemima Khan – Doc Kazi at Flickr
Princess Diana, paid a second visit to Lahore in 1996 when she came to support Imran Khan’s Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and to promote cancer awareness among the poor people of Pakistan. Imran Khan and Jemima Khan, who were happily married back then, played host to the late Princess and arranged a charity function in her honor.
While in the restaurant waiting area, you can see the snaps of Princess Diana having a dinner at ‘The Village Restaurant’ where she looks stunning, wearing a simple but elegant shalwar kameez.
Another chapter of Diana’s life that had a greater impact on her grew her closer to this land was her love affair with a London based British-Pakistani heart surgeon, Dr. Hasnat Khan.
Just after her royal divorce and unfulfilling relationships with a few other men, when Diana was in an emotional free-fall, there came a Pakistani man in her life that qualified to be called as ‘The One’ by Diana herself. Dr Hasnat Khan, a prominent but shy heart surgeon who first met Diana in September, 1995, will remain her only true love even till her death, as claimed by people closest to her.
Dr. Hasnat Khan – RD
This August’s Reader’s Digest carried excrepts from Tina Brown’s book on the pincess’ life; ‘The Diana Chronicles’, in which the author has, in detail, written about the relationship. She writes:
Diana’s love life had simplified in a wonderful way. In the fall of 1995, she’d at last fallen for a man who reciprocated her feelings: 36-year-old Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.
The One, as she called him, was the oldest of four children from an affluent, closely knit family in Jhelum, north of Lahore. Diana first met him at the Royal Brompton Hospital, where she had gone to visit the husband of her soother in chief, Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo. Joseph Toffolo had suffered a massive hemorrhage during a triple-bypass operation. Khan, a young Omar Sharif figure in a white coat, arrived with a retinue of assistants when Diana was there. The doctor was absorbed in Toffolo’s condition and took no notice of her — which, for a woman used to having everyone fawn over her, was almost unbearably sexy.
So were his caring eyes. “Oonagh, isn’t he drop-dead gorgeous!” Diana said after Khan left the room. So gorgeous, in fact, that the bemused Joseph Toffolo had Diana fussing over him at his bedside for 18 days straight.
The relationship with Hasnat Khan was the most fulfilling Diana had ever had. “I found my peace!” she confessed to Lady Bowker. “He has given me all the things I need.” The doctor didn’t want anything from her. She offered to buy him a new car, and he proudly refused. He dreaded publicity. He was not interested in high life or fashionability. His one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea was a mess, and there was a bit of a paunch under the old T-shirts he wore when he was off duty. He loved what was best about Diana — her compassionate nature, her desire to embrace humanitarian causes. .-. Full Story.-.
But the relationship could not further bloom because of, as claimed by many, Dr. Hasnat’s dislike to be in the tabloids’ spot-light, Diana’s public defiance of their affair, and for his parents’ approval, that had not yet been granted.
Richard Schlesinger, in his article says:
By 1997, their relationship stalled. Diana wanted to marry Hasnat, but he never proposed. So she turned to Imran Khan, one man she thought could understand. He had married a British aristocrat from outside the faith, so Diana asked him if he would intervene and convince Hasnat to do the same.
“Maybe I could speak to him, because having married someone from outside my culture, maybe there if there was something which could be cleared, if there was advice that could be given, maybe I would be able to help,” says Imran Khan. .-.Full Story.-.
CONTINUED… PART ~ 2