What 'The Crown' season 5 gets right and wrong about Princess Diana and Dr. Hasnat Khan's relationship
"The Crown" season five depicts Princess Diana's relationship with Dr. Hasnat Khan.
The story arc is set against the backdrop of royal tension as Diana divorces Prince Charles.
However, the series does not depict their relationship entirely accurately.
Hasnat Khan and Princess Diana did actually meet in Royal Brompton Hospital.
"The Crown" season five depicts Princess Diana's relationship with heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan in episodes seven, eight, and nine.
In episode seven, Diana's acupuncturist friend Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo (Olwen Fouéré) tells her that her husband is about to have heart surgery. Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) decides to support her friend by going with her to the Royal Brompton Hospital to find out if the surgery is successful. The surgeon to give the good news is Dr. Hasnat Khan (Humayun Saeed), whom Diana seems immediately intrigued by.
This is how the pair actually met, according to a statement Dr. Khan gave to police in 2004, which was then read out in the inquest into Diana's death in 2008.
"It was in August or September of 1995 that I met Diana, Princess of Wales," He said (via the Express). "Diana and I met through Oonagh Toffolo, whose husband was recovering from heart surgery at the Royal Brompton... I first met Diana when I had occasion to speak to Mrs. Toffolo, whose husband was required to stay in hospital for some time."
Like in the show, Dr. Khan goes on to say that Diana visited Mr. Toffolo regularly and became interested in how the hospital worked and visited other patients.
How the pair started dating was different from how it is shown in "The Crown."
While the beginning of their relationship is accurate, the series appears to diverge from the historical accounts as the story progresses.
Later in the episode, Dr. Khan is impressed by Diana's visits to other patients and asks her to get "lunch" at midnight. They have a private meal together from a vending machine and talk about each other's lives. Following this, they go on a secret date to the movie theater to see "Apollo 13."
According to Dr. Khan's account of what really happened, the pair had a period of friendship before things developed into a relationship.
"Diana and her girlfriends would often pop in and, when I had finished my rounds, they would join me for a chat. They were all very friendly people," he said. "Over a period of time, we became good friends."
Dr. Khan said their first private hangout came when he asked her to pick up some books from his uncle's house in Stratford-upon-Avon.
"I did not think for one minute that she would say yes, but I asked her if she would like to come with me. I was very surprised when she said she would," he recalled. "We drove there together and Diana met my aunt and uncle. We had dinner in a restaurant and then drove back to London."
It was from here that their friendship turned into a relationship.
Like in the series, many dates did occur in each other's homes.
In Dr. Khan's account, he said that the pair stayed with each other many times at each other's apartments.
"We had a normal sexual relationship and I have no reason to think that Diana was ever unfaithful to me," Dr. Khan said. "Diana introduced me to Princes William and Harry. Diana just wanted her sons to know what was happening in her life."
In episodes seven and eight, we see Dr. Khan visit Diana in her home in Kensington Palace. Although he never meets her children. Diana mentions him to her eldest son, William (Senan West).
The real Dr. Khan also said in his 2004 policy statement that they did meet up in public but this became more difficult after the media found out about their relationship.
"The media found out about us around November 1995, very soon after our relationship started," he said. "I think they had already guessed we were seeing each other, but then someone working at the hospital leaked it out."
"The Crown" never shows any scenes about the paparazzi following Khan.
Their relationship lasted longer than it was depicted in "The Crown."
By episode nine, which is roughly set in 1996, it seems as if Khan and Diana's relationship is over after her infamous "Panorama" interview where she exposed many secrets about her relationship with Prince Charles.
However, in real life, the pair had a two-year relationship ending in 1997. Their relationship also nearly became more serious with Diana wanting to get married to the heart surgeon.
In 2013, Jemima Khan, a close friend of Diana and the former wife of Hasnat's distant cousin, Imran Khan, told Vanity Fair: "Diana was madly in love with Hasnat Khan and wanted to marry him, even if that meant living in Pakistan, and that's one of the reasons why we became friends."
Jemima said that when Diana visited her in Pakistan, she also secretly visited Dr. Khan's family to discuss "the possibility of marriage."
Dr. Khan said in his statement in the inquiry into Diana's death that he knew about the princess' intentions to marry him but was not a fan of the idea.
"My main concern about us getting married was that my life would be hell because of who she was," he said. "I knew I would not be able to live a normal life and if we ever had children together, I would not be able to take them anywhere or do normal things with them. Anyone could approach me, in the pub, on the train, anywhere."
He added: "I told her that the only way I could see us having a vaguely normal life together would be if we went to Pakistan, as the press don't bother you there."
Dr. Khan said that "around the end of 1996 or the beginning of 1997," Diana asked her former butler Paul Burrell to talk to a priest about the possibility of getting married in secret. Again, he said he thought this was "a ridiculous idea."
Diana met Dr. Hasnat Khan's family, which is not shown in "The Crown."
One crucial thing the series does not show is that Diana actually met numerous members of Dr. Khan's family.
Diana met his uncle and aunt early in the friendship. According to the Sunday Telegraph, the princess also visited his family in Pakistan during a visit in 1996. The report said she even wore a traditional shalwar kameez out of respect for their Muslim faith.
"She really enjoyed her time when she came here," Dr. Khan told the publication in 2008. "She also enjoyed the afternoon tea she had with my family. And I think she very much liked the Asian family's eccentric culture."
The series does show that Diana is intrigued by Pakistan and the people from there but we never see the princess go to the country.
While the real reason the relationship ended is complicated, it revolves around Dodi Fayed.
"The Crown" does not really show how Dr. Khan and Diana break off their relationship. In the show, Diana just tells her therapist and Prince Charles (Dominic West) in episode nine that the surgeon has kept his distance after her famous "Panorama" interview.
In reality, the pair dated until Dodi Fayed came into the picture.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that Rosa Monckton, one of the princess' closest friends, said in an inquest into Diana's death in 2008 that Dr. Khan broke off the relationship in the summer of 1997.
Monckton said the princess was still "deeply upset and hurt" by this and talked about him while dating Fayed, with whom she became romantically involved in the summer of that year.
"It was clear to me she was really missing Hasnat and I think Dodi was a distraction from the hurt she felt from the breakup," Monckton said.
However, Khan gave a different story in his own statement to the police in 2004. He said that he felt something had changed after Diana went on holiday with Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi's father, but he didn't know if she had met someone. He said that when they met up after the holiday, she broke things off with him and he heard about her relationship with Dodi afterward.
The final episode shows Diana about to go on the trip with Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw) but Dr. Khan is already out of the picture at this point, which is not accurate to what actually happened.
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