PRINCE WILLIAM and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, are happily starting their four-day royal tour of Pakistan today – but William’s mother Princess Diana was left devastated by a saga involving the country decades ago.
William is expected to meet Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan, who had been a close friend of his mother’s, as was his then-wife Jemima. The Duke is also expected to “honour” the charity work Diana did in Pakistan before she died. The Princess of Wales visited Lahore in 1996 and in 1997 to help raise money for a cancer hospital built in the city by Mr Khan.
However, it was a distant cousin of the prime minister – Hasnat Khan – who caused Diana’s heartbreak.
The British-Pakistani heart surgeon had a two-year long relationship with the princess from 1995 to 1997.
She is said to have described him as “Mr Wonderful” and that he was her real, true love.
Friends of Diana opened up about this relationship in 2017 Amazon Prime Documentary ‘Princess Diana – The Woman Inside’.
The Duke and Duchess and Cambridge are starting their tour today (Image GETTY)
Hasnat Khan, 1997 (Image GETTY)
Simone Simmons said “When she started seeing Hasnat Khan, she’d met her Mr Wonderful.
“She said he was the only man in her life who didn’t want anything.”
Ms Simmons explained that Hasnat would not let Diana pay for anything.
She said: “Even when she offered to pay to repair his exhaust because his car kept backfiring.
Princess Diana and Imran Khan (Image GETTY)
“We’d be on the phone and she’d say: ‘Can you hear that? Do you think we could be arrested for this?”
Diana and Charles had been separated since 1992, but brought a formal ending to their marriage four years later in 1996.
She met Hasnat at the Royal Brompton Hospital and started seeing him, largely in secret.
She reportedly used to dream about a normal life with him, the “love of her life”.
Princess Diana in Pakistan (Image: GETTY)
Simone Simmons, Diana’s friend (Image: Amazon Prime)
Ms Simmons said: “Diana used to say, we could live in a three-up, two-down semi.
“I would say yes, and pigs are going to fly. That sort of life could never be, but it’s what she wanted.”
Hasnat felt the only way they could have a normal life would be if the princess moved to Pakistan, which he said she initially considered doing.
She even asked her friend, Jemima Khan what life was like over there.
However, after a while she stopped mentioning Pakistan and Hasnat “got the impression that she no longer considered living there a possibility”.
Then, much to Diana’s distress, Hasnat broke off their relationship in June 1997.
Rosa Monckton, one of the princess’ closest friends, insisted at the inquest of her death that Diana was still infatuated with surgeon while on holiday with her just two weeks before her death.
Despite this, she had started dating Dodi Fayed, the son of an Egyptian billionaire who also died in the tragic car crash in Paris which killed the princess in August that year.
Ross Monckton said: “It was clear to me she was really missing Hasnat and I think Dodi was a distraction from the hurt she felt from the break-up.”
She added: “She was very much in love with [Hasnat]. She hoped they would have a future together. She wanted to marry him.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Aga Khan Centre ahead of royal tour (Image: GETTY)
Hasnat would later marry Hadia Sher Ali in Pakistan, in an arranged marriage, in May 2006.
However, their marriage only lasted a couple of years, as they filed for divorce in July 2008.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have described their first official visit as their “most complex” tour to date in a Kensington Palace statement.
A royal source told The Sunday Times: “The Duke and Duchess will be covering a lot of ground and are keen to put Pakistan back on the map as a country that is now much safer than people expect it to be.”
The visit, requested by the Foreign Office, comes as tensions in the region – between Pakistan and India – have reached boiling point over the disputed region of Kashmir.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK