How did Princess Diana know Imran Khan, and what happened to him?

What happened between them?

Princess Diana and Imran Khan: Diana, Princess of Wales, is welcomed to Lahore by Imran Khan in April 1996
(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Alamy/Future)

Was he a friend of the Princess, or did they have a relationship? We take a look at what happened between Princess Diana and Imran Khan.

The Crown season 5 release of November 9 has finally arrived, and with it the expected speculation about the tangled lives of its main characters - the Royals. This season is set to pick up in 1991, covering the next half of the turbulent decade for the Queen and her misbehaving family. Taking centre stage, will be the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s relationship and its subsequent monumental fallout. With the People’s Princess once again in sharp focus of the public’s attention, intrigue surrounding her fascinating private life has made a huge resurgence. With fans asking about Diana’s relationship with Imran Khan, which coincides with a shocking recent incident in his own life, read on to find out all you need to know about the pair. 

For those unsure of who plays Princess Diana in The Crown season 5, we have everything there is to know about the actress, and her season 4 predecessor. The new season features the new Diana actress recreating the infamous revenge dress scene - take a look at some sneak peek images of The Crown's version of the head-turning dress. With Diana's tragic demise also back in the spotlight, attention has turned to her bodyguard at the time of her death, Trevor Rees-Jones. Find out what happened to him, and where he is now.

How did Princess Diana know Imran Khan?

Diana briefly dated heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who was a distant cousin of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan. Diana became friends with Imran and his wife Jemima Khan through the relationship. 

Imran Khan was Prime Minister of Pakistan between August 2018 and April 2022. He had enjoyed a previous career as a cricket player on the Pakistan national team. He married the daughter of financier Sir James Goldsmith and Lady Annabel Goldsmith, in 1995 - both were good friends with Diana. Jemima converted to Islam before the wedding, and the couple share two sons, Sulaiman Isa and Kasim. They split in 2004, and Jemima has now reverted to her maiden name. 

Diana visited Jemima and Imran in Pakistan twice, in 1996 and 1997, to spend time with the couple and help raise funds for cancer hospitals Imran founded in Lahore and Peshwar. It was reported that Jemima had been brought on board season 5 of The Crown to advise on the portrayal of Diana’s life, but later pulled out. According to Tatler, Jemima was unhappy with the portrayal of her friend, saying her story was not being handled “as respectfully or compassionately as I had hoped”.

Despite previously refusing to make public comment on her friendship with Diana, Jemima Khan said she was happy to take part when asked to help write the fifth series of the hit show in 2019. She said “it was really important to me that the final years of my friend’s life be portrayed accurately and with compassion, as has not always happened in the past”. However, she clearly feels despite her input, the accuracy and compassion remained lacking, and withdrew from the project.

Diana, Princess of Wales with Imran and Jemima Khan during their visit to Imran Khan's cancer hospital in Lahore, Pakistan in April 1996

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Alamy)

Did Princess Diana have a relationship with Imran Khan?

Princess Diana didn’t have a relationship with Imran Khan, only with his distant cousin, heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

Princess Diana began her relationship with Dr. Hasnat Khan in September 1995, trying her best to keep the relationship private. It is widely thought the surgeon was the love of Diana’s life, whom she referred to as “Mr. Wonderful.” Diana’s butler Paul Burrell has also said in interviews that Diana would describe Khan as her soulmate.

Khan has refused to speak publicly about their relationship, only giving a statement to the police about it during the 2004 inquest into Diana’s death which was read in court. According to Vogue, part of his statement read “I found her a very normal person with great qualities,” admitting he ended the relationship because he was fearful of the publicity it would bring, despite wanting to marry her. He was present at her funeral in Westminster Abbey in September 1997. 

Who was Imran Khan married to?

Jemima Goldsmith was Khan’s first wife. When that relationship ended in 2004, he married Reham Khan in 2014. When his second marriage ended, he married Bushra Bibi in 2018, to whom he remains married.

Khan’s second wife Reham Nayyar Khan is a British-Pakistani journalist, author, and filmmaker. She began her career in 2006 hosting shows on Legal TV, and presenting for Sunshine Radio Hereford and Worcester. By 2008, she was working as a weather girl for the BBC. In 2013, Khan went to work in Pakistan, joining news channel News One, and later Aaj TV. 

Throughout 2015 she hosted her own show, The Reham Khan Show, celebrating Pakistani heroes. After divorcing Imran shortly after they married in 2015, the memoir of her life published just prior to the 2018 Pakistani general election resulted in speculation the contents were intended to sabotage Imran Khan's run for Prime Minister.  

Little is known about Imran Khan’s current wife Bushra Bibi. Their marriage took place six months before he took up his position as Prime Minister, and she had previously been married to a senior customs official with whom she had five children. She is said to hail from central Punjab, from a conservative and politically influential family. 

Imran Khan and first wife Jemima Khan

(Image credit: Reuters)

 Imran Khan: Shooting

On 3 November 2022, Imran Khan was shot in an assassination attempt in Wazirabad, Punjab, during a protest march against the government. He had three bullets removed from his leg.

The former Pakistani Prime Minister was shot when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by gunfire. One person was killed in the attack, and five others were injured. The protest was in aid of calling an early election in the country and there was no immediate reason offered for the assassination attempt. According to the BBC, one of Khan’s senior aides has accused the Pakistani government of being "directly involved" in the attack.

Raoof Hasan continued to say the government was "attempting to eliminate [Imran Khan] physically". When speaking to CNN about these claims, Imran Khan appeared to agree with his aide. He said “They took out three bullets from my right leg. The left had some shrapnel which they’ve left inside. They tried everything to somehow get me out of the way. When that didn’t happen, this was planned”.

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Who shot Imran Khan?

The lone assailant is yet to be named, but remains in police custody. The police have released a video of the man confessing to the attack.

According to the BBC, when asked in the video why he opened fire, the man simply replies “He was misguiding the people. I wanted to kill him. I tried to kill him”. The march led by Khan was named the  "Haqeeqi Azadi Long March", or anti-government rally. It was due to begin from Lahore and conclude in Islamabad. 

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The attacker claims he is affiliated to any militant or terrorist outfit, and acted alone. However, it is unclear under which conditions he offered the confession, and there are calls for it to be verified. Khan remains stable, and the investigation into the attack continues.

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.