On August 31, it was the 23rd death anniversary of Diana who ruled the hearts with her charm and dedication towards the charity work. The late Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Diana had a deep connection with Pakistan that included various charitable activities and a tragic romance. She first arrived in Pakistan in 1991, then in 1996 and 1997. She raised considerable funds for PM Imran Khan’s new Shaukat Khanum Memorial (SKM) hospital in Lahore. She was also friends with premier’s first official spouse, Jemima Goldsmith.
Her new biopic is coming soon in which Kristen Stewart will play the role of the late princess. It will depict the same dream of Diana that took the princess through agony, controversy, and finally death. However, the remarkable journey of the people’s princess will be remembered forever.
Princess Diana Makes First Visit To Pakistan
Princess Diana travelled to Pakistan without the royal family in 1991. She visited many historical places like Khyber Pass, Badshahi Mosque, and Chitral. Images from the archive showed her walking barefoot in the premises of the mosque with respect to local sentiments.
She also met the members of Chitral Scouts who gave her their traditional hat.
Princess stopped by the historic Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore.
Due to security reasons she had to put up with imperialists in Pakistan while visiting the beautiful Khyber Pass. The charm of this place is doubled when the person is not grounded and surrounded. Warlords like Alexander The Great, and Genghis Khan used to cross this road for their expeditions in the subcontinent.
Her first visit lasted 4 days and ended with a royal banquet at the Prime Minister house hosted by then PM Nawaz Sharif.
Helping The Country’s Biggest Cancer Hospital
Diana was hosted by the chairman of Shaukat Khanum charitable trust, Imran Khan on her second and first charity trip to Pakistan in February 1996. She visited the hospital and instantly bonded with the cancer patients. People’s princess made them feel comfortable with her affectionate touch. She was welcomed with flowers and garlands wherever she went.
The String Of Controversies
According to the archives, she arrived again in 1997 and helped Khan raise huge funds for his hospital. The hospital was built in 1994 through donations. It was badly damaged by a terrorist attack in 1996 which killed 4 people. Distressed Khan gave controversial statements that this attack was meant for him but he will never back down from his mission. He reportedly stated that he would keep pressuring the government to bring the culprits to justice.
Unfortunately the controversy surrounded Diana as well. Her compassion and generosity was twisted by some media outlets into ridiculous scandals. Some socialites created a fuss due to their social constructs where it is catastrophic for a man and woman to touch each other.
Khan also gave a controversial statement that his intentions about this royal visit were purely charitable but the government believed that it was for boosting his political career. According to the archives, state-run Pakistan Television Network (PTV) cropped him out of the coverage. Khan eventually became a Prime Minister in 2018.
The historic tour of the late princess can be visualized in the following video.
Her Short-Lived Love Story With A Pakistani Man
Besides having a good friendship with Imran Khan and his former wife Jemima Goldsmith, she also fell in love a Pakistani heart surgeon back in London. It was widely reported that Diana secretly made this trip to Pakistan in an attempt to meet the family of the one she loved, Dr. Hasnat Khan.
Dr. Hasnat was also a distant relative of PM Imran Khan. He worked in the Royal Brompton Hospital in London when Diana first met him. It was love at first sight for Diana when she saw him treating Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo’s husband in 1995. Oonagh was a nurse and great confidante of Princess Diana with whom she shared her feelings about the doctor. She described that the doctor had gorgeous looks and caring eyes. An old picture of Dr. Hasnat was found on social media.
Diana Saw Her Dream Coming True
Many of her confidantes revealed that Diana believed Hasnat was the one she was searching for despite being married to Prince Charles. She also considered converting to Islam for the doctor because Pakistani families were strictly against the marriage to a non-Muslim. Doctor’s family also warned him against the relationship with the Princess. According to Diana’s confidantes, she and Hasnat decided to refrain from physical intimacy until her divorce and their marriage.
Diana became highly influenced by Pakistani traditional dressing while dating Hasnat. She kept on collecting them to win the affection of the doctor. When she first arrived in 1996, Pakistani designer, Rizwan Beyg designed her suit which she wore at two occasions. One at the Lahore fundraiser for SKM and other at the London fundraiser just after finalizing the divorce with Prince Charles.
Cultural Baggage of Pakistan Broke Diana’s Dreams
Unfortunately, the rumor mill eventually succeeded in causing distances for Diana and Hasnat. The doctor was reportedly threatened with abusive and racial emails which led him to back out of the relationship. However, the queen of hearts carried on her passion of helping people
Diana had a devastating life after the doctor failed to handle few thrones attached to the rose. No one could imagine what she went through, so they judged and created different stories. Still her legacy remained intact as one of the most kind, passionate, and caring aristocrat this world has ever seen.
She left this unkind world on 31st August 1997 in a mysterious car crash. According to archives, she was in a car with Egyptian film producer and rumored boyfriend, Dodi Fayed who was also the son of Mohamed-Al Fayed, the owner of Harrod’s department store in London. All investigations into the matter have continuously failed to date.