Princess Diana was secretly planning to marry her "soul mate", heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, the year before she died, the inquest into her death has heard.
Paul Burrell, Diana’s former butler, revealed that the princess had asked him to explore the likelihood of a "private marriage" for the couple in the autumn of 1996.
Burrell told the London court that he also approached his local Catholic priest to ask about arranging a wedding between a Christian and a Muslim, without Khan's knowledge.
The royal aide's account differs sharply from that of Mohamed Al Fayed, who has always maintained his son Dodi was going to marry Diana.
However, despite Diana and Khan breaking up, Burrell believed she still "held a candle" for the surgeon, and suggested she was making him jealous with her new relationship with Dodi.
"The princess said this was her soul mate. This is the man she loved more than any other," the Telegraph quoted Burrell, as saying.
"She did ask me if it would be possible to arrange a private marriage between her and Hasnat Khan.
"So I approached my parish priest, Father Anthony Parsons. The Princess had attended mass at the Carmelite Church in Kensington and prayed there with me. Father Parsons knew exactly who I was talking about but he didn't know the man's name.
"She was adamant Princes William and Harry would get to know Dr Khan and would like him before a marriage took place. Plans were being laid for Dr Khan to have his own rooms in Kensington Palace so he would have some privacy,” he added.
Burrell also revealed that Diana's mother Frances Shand Kydd strongly disapproved of the relationship and branded her a disgraceful whore for “messing around with Muslim men.”
“She called the Princess a whore and said she was messing around with effing Muslim men and she was disgraceful, and said some very nasty things,” he said.