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Princess Diana's ex-lover back in Britain

world Updated: Jul 12, 2009 21:23 IST

Almost 12 years after Princess Diana's death, her "Mr Wonderful" ex-lover -- the Asian-origin heart surgeon Hasnat Khan -- who had enjoyed a long-term fling with her in the mid-90s, is back in Britain.

The 49-year-old surgeon has secretly returned to Britain to be one of five heart and lung specialists at the new 60-million-pound Essex Cardiothoracic Centre at Basildon Hospital, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

His arrival was marked at the hospital's annual consultants' dinner, which this year had a Bollywood theme and featured Indian food and dancers.

Khan, who qualified as a doctor in Punjab, became Princess Diana's lover after meeting her in 1995 while he was working at the Royal Brompton Hospital in west London. They met two months before she gave a media interview in which she spoke of the difficulties of her marriage to Prince Charles.

At the height of the romance, the Princess kept Khan's photograph by her bedside, and introduced him to sons William and Harry. It was rumoured that the couple would marry, and they went to great lengths to keep their relationship secret.

Khan was said to have once smuggled into Kensington Palace in the boot of Diana's butler Paul Burrell's car.

Last year, Khan spoke publicly for the first time about his relationship with Diana at his parents' home in the small town of Jhelum in Pakistan, in which he described how the Princess visited him in Lahore, and claimed her death had left a "huge vacuum".

Khan married the daughter of a noble Afghan family in 2006, but the couple separated after just 18 months, citing personal reasons.