November 8, 2022
For Princess Diana and her lover, accomplished heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, the morning of January 28, 1996 was particularly explosive. As the Sunday Mirror landed on doorsteps across the U.K., its front page read, in loud, capital letters: “Di, her driver, and a dishy doc.” The tabloid — correctly, as it would turn out — revealed that the pair had been sharing “intimate candlelit suppers” in a quiet restaurant called Greek Connection in Stratford-upon-Avon. During one date, they dined together for four-and-a-half hours, only leaving at midnight.
The Mirror even detailed their menu that evening: moussaka for her, something vegetarian for him, and fresh strawberries for dessert. Restaurant manager Lazarus Seferidis informed the rag, “Neither of them were extravagant in what they ate — they seemed more interested in each other than the food. Not many people spend over four hours eating a meal, so it was quite obvious they were enjoying themselves.”
The couple, who had been seeing each other since the summer of 1995, had been exposed. The Mirror had been onto the affair and paid a private investigator to steal the itemized billing data from Khan’s landline for proof. That level of media attention ultimately sent Khan, who will be played by Pakistani star Humayun Saeed in Season 5 of Netflix’s The Crown, premiering on November 9, for the door. While the high-profile couple called it quits a month before her death in August 1997, many friends and gossips have since surmised that Khan — with his genuine love and loyalty — was Diana’s one true love. Which means two decades before Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, his mother was already defying royal customs and conventions by daring to fall for a person of color. In effect, she laid the groundwork for her son, years later, to follow that choice, writing a new story where heartbreak is not the only answer.