(RNS) — Princess Diana discussed Islam and interfaith marriage with a member of her entourage before her death. In a recent article for People magazine, Anwar Hussein, a photographer for the family, revealed details of a previously undisclosed conversation the princess had with Hussein during an evening flight.
Hussein says that Diana, the former Princess of Wales, asked him, “Can I have a chat?” before surprising him with questions about his religion and about marriage between a Muslim and a Protestant Christian.
“She was interested because of what she was going through with (then boyfriend) Dr. Hasnat Khan. She didn’t mention him, but she assumed I knew it. I think she was wondering how the family would react to him and things like that,” Hussein, who is now 83, told the magazine. He said he was asked these questions because the princess knew of his own marriage to an English woman.
Khan, a British-Pakistani heart and lung surgeon, was romantically involved for two years with Diana in the mid-1990s, just months before her death. Diana visited Khan’s family in Lahore, Pakistan, during this period and reportedly considered moving there. The two split in June 1997.
Diana began dating Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed, who was also Muslim, in July 1997. In a 2019 documentary, a former butler for Princess Diana claimed Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd, sharply disapproved of her romantic relationships with the two Muslim men.
An Anglican priest revealed in 2017 that prior to her death, while she was dating Fayed, Diana had asked if it was possible for people of two different faiths to marry in the Anglican Church.
Fayed and Diana were killed in a car crash at the Pont de’Alma underpass in Paris on Aug. 31 of that same year.
Fayed’s former spokesman, Michael Cole, has stated the couple were engaged prior to her death. Diana is also said to have told friends she had a big “surprise” coming before her death.
Diana had married Prince Charles in 1981. The couple officially separated in 1992 and were divorced in August 1996. During their marriage, Diana gave birth to two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Prince William is second in line to the British throne.