The Royals

Princess Diana's 'true love' explored in Vanity Fair's September issue

July 30, 2013 at 5:51 PM ET

Courtesy of Vanity Fair
Courtesy of Vanity Fair

Though Diana's grandson, Prince George, has been making headlines around the world, the "people's princess" herself is gracing the cover of Vanity Fair's September issue.

The cover features a photo by famed fashion photographer Mario Testino, shot in 1997, to accompany a story by contributing editor Sarah Ellison. In the image, the Princess of Wales appears fresh-faced, with little make-up and a relaxed expression.

Ellison's story offers details on Princess Diana's two-year relationship with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan from 1995 to 1997, the magazine stated in a press release. According to Ellison's sources, Diana desired to marry and settle down with the surgeon, but the prospect of a life in the spotlight made Khan uncomfortable.

“Diana was madly in love with Hasnat Khan and wanted to marry him, even if that meant living in Pakistan," Jemima Khan, a close friend of Diana's and the former wife of Hasnat's cousin Imran Khan, told Ellison.

But the relationship fell apart shortly after Diana met Dodi Al Fayed, and according to Ellison's sources, it crumbled because Hasnat did not want to marry or go public with their romance.

“He hated the thought of being in the glare of publicity for the rest of his life," Khan told Ellison.

The last time Diana graced the cover of Vanity Fair was in October 1997, about one month after her death.

Diana, the Princess of Wales
John Stillwell
See images from key moments in the life of Britain's Diana, the 'people's princess'.