( dpa ) - Princess Diana planned a private wedding to a Pakistani heart surgeon whom she called "Mr Wonderful" and never intended to get married to Harrods' heir Dodi al-Fayed, with whom she died in Paris in August 1997, the inquest into their deaths was told Monday.
Paul Burrell, Diana's former butler whom she called her "rock," said Dodi and Diana were "definitely not engaged" and the princess never intended to marry him.
"I need marriage like a rash," Diana had said after Dodi showered her with gifts, including a precious ring which she wore on her fourth finger to indicate that it was just a friendship token.
Burrell said the princess was on the rebound from a two-year relationship with Khan, whom she had hoped to marry, but who ended the relationship a few months before Diana took up with Dodi.
The butler's testimony differs sharply from claims by Dodi's father, Harrods' owner Mohammed al-Fayed, who maintains that the couple were "murdered" by Britain's secret services because they wanted to get married and she was pregnant with Dodi's child.
Khan, a 48-year-old heart surgeon at London's renowned Royal Brompton Hospital, returned to Pakistan late last year. He is expected to give evidence to the inquest in the next few weeks.
Burrell said Diana had asked him to approach a priest to arrange a private weeding between her and Khan, who had become part of the "fixtures and fittings" at Diana's home, Kensington Palace.