The fifth season of The Crown has officially dropped on Netflix, and we’re engrossed in the drama that’s unfolding over the show’s new decade — the ’90s. Ever since the highly acclaimed series debuted in 2016, it’s taken some creative liberties from time to time, despite heavily relying on history to guide its plot. As we tune into the drama “inspired by” historical events, GRAZIA USA is unpacking every time we asked ourselves, “Did that really happen?”
We’re focusing on The Crown’s seventh episode “No Woman’s Land.” Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) is struggling to find her place amid her separation with Prince Charles and after her son William leaves for boarding school at Eton. More isolated than ever, Lady Diana finds solace in Dr. Hasnat Khan (portrayed by Humayun Saeed). Meanwhile, BBC reporter Martin Bashir goes to great lengths to persuade Diana to agree to an interview.
Struggling to say goodbye to her eldest son, Diana advises William to “give Granny a wave,” if he’s ever feeling sad or lonely, as Eton College is so close to Windsor Castle. The close proximity prompts Queen Elizabeth to inquire if Prince William might have permission to visit the castle for tea on occasion.
When supporting a friend at the hospital, Diana meets the acquaintance of Dr. Khan. Immediately smitten, the princess calls Khan “dishy,” complimenting his eyes and his hands, and ponders if he might be Pakistani.
Diana quickly begins spending time at the hospital, chatting with patients and staff, uplifting their spirits without a bodyguard or the press. Dr. Khan expresses his gratitude for her giving his patients joy. He asks if she’d have a snack with him on his break.
Cracking open some junk food from the vending machine, the pair bond over Diana’s love for Pakistani culture after visiting on a solo tour in 1991. Khan explains his very busy schedule has kept him from pursuing romantic relationships and from going to the movies. The pair later meet up to catch Apollo 13 in theaters, with Diana in disguise, holding hands and cozying up.
After giving her a respectful peck on the cheek to say goodnight, Diana asks for a “proper kiss.” Khan explains that he doesn’t understand what she sees in him. “You forget I already had a prince, and he broke my heart,” Diana says. “I’m just looking for a frog to make me happy.”
In the next episode “Gunpowder,” their relationship swiftly ends after Diana’s BBC interview with Martin Bashir airs, opening the couple to a whole new level of media scrutiny.
In reality, Princess Diana did indeed meet heart surgeon Hasnat Khan at Royal Brompton Hospital in 1995. However, the couple lasted much longer than portrayed on the screen. Journalist Kate Snell wrote in her book Diana: Her Last Love, “After Charles, Khan was undoubtedly the most important love of Diana’s life.”
Diana met the cardiologist’s family, visited them in Pakistan, and reportedly sent him flowers, while Khan would sneak into Kensington Palace with Kentucky Friend Chicken for the Princess.
The pair did their best to keep the relationship under wraps, but were met with an onslaught of suspicion and media attention. Their relationship lasted until July of 1997, immediately before Diana was photographed on a yacht with Dodi Fayed.
Shortly thereafter, Fayed and Diana would go on to pursue a romantic relationship, tragically ending with them both dying in a car crash in Paris in 1997.