Princess Diana was reportedly very serious in her relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan and was even considering an inter-faith marriage.
Anwar Hussein, a Tanganyika-born British photographer who became the longest-serving photo journalist to the British royal family, has revealed that Princess Diana asked him questions about how an interfaith marriage between her and Khan would work. The award-winning photographer was sharing a flight with the Princess of Wales in the mid-nineties when she approached him for a hushed conversation about Islam.
Hussein has recorded his interactions with the British royal from 1980 up until her sudden death in 1997 in the documentary "Princess Diana: Accredited Access" which is currently running in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. In a conversation with People magazine about the documentary, he recalls about their conversation in flight, "All the lights were dimmed on the flight, and she came and whispered, 'Can I have a chat?'"
"She knew that I was married to an English girl, Caroline. She wanted to know about Islam. She was asking about being married when one person is Muslim and another is Protestant," he recalled.
The 83-year-old noted that the Princess, who had recently gotten divorced from Prince Charles, was interested in interfaith marriage "because of what she was going through with [her then-boyfriend] Dr. Hasnat Khan."
"She didn't mention him, but she assumed I knew it. I think she was wondering how the family would react to him and things like that," he said.
Diana had dated Khan from 1995 to 1997 after she met him at the Royal Brompton Hospital where she was visiting a friend who was recovering from a heart operation. She had even met Khan's family during her visit to Pakistan in 1996, during which she wore the country's traditional outfit salwar kameez.
However, while the princess was trying to find out how a marriage with a Muslim would work and was even considering moving to the South Asian country, Khan decided that their relationship would not last long because of their cultural differences. His father, Abdul Rasheed Khan, said his son had told the family, "If I married her [Diana], our marriage would not last for more than a year. We are culturally so different from each other. She is from Venus and I am from Mars. If it ever happened, it would be like a marriage from two different planets."
They parted ways in the early summer of 1997 after which the royal started dating Dodi Fayed. Both of them lost their lives in the tragic car crash in Paris in August that year.