Princess Diana's heart surgeon lover Hasnat Khan feared that marriage to one of the world's most famous women "would be hell because of who she was", the inquest into her death was told on Monday.
"I knew I would not be able to lead a normal life," Khan said in a highly personal statement to the inquest looking into the deaths of Diana and Dodi al-Fayed in a high-speed Paris car crash in August 1997.
Khan revealed that Diana decided to end their relationship after they had a two-year romance during which they were hounded by the media and he was sent hate mail. "My main concern about us getting married was that my life would be hell because of who she was," Khan said. He feared that if they ever had children together "I would never be able to take them anywhere or do normal things with them." Khan told Diana, who as the world's most photographed woman was pursued everywhere by paparazzi, that he could not face leading that sort of lifestyle, constantly in a media spotlight.
Khan felt the only way they could lead a normal life together was to move to Pakistan, an option that she considered for a while but rejected. Dodi's father, luxury department store Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed, alleges the couple were killed by British security forces on the orders of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband and Diana's former father-in-law. But Khan said he thought the couple were victims not of a sinister British Establishment conspiracy but of a tragic accident. Khan said in his statement that Diana was "concerned about her safety but was not paranoid about it". The heart surgeon said media attention was not his only problem in such a high-profile relationship.
"I did receive a lot of anonymous threats through the post. I have received envelopes containing cut-out pictures of me together with a noose around my neck. This went on and on and it was very stressful."
After Diana came back from a holiday aboard Mohamed al-Fayed's yacht in the south of France in the summer of 1997, "Diana told me it was all over between us," Khan said. Khan said he thought Diana realised that Dodi al-Fayed "could give her all the things I could not. He had money and could provide the necessary security for her."
Under British law, an inquest is needed to determine the cause of death when someone dies unnaturally. French and British police investigations have both concluded the deaths were tragic accidents caused by their speeding chauffeur who was found to have been drunk. Both inquiries rejected al-Fayed's conspiracy theories.