James Hewitt

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James Hewitt
Born James Lifford Hewitt
(1958-04-30) 30 April 1958 (age 64)
Derry, Northern Ireland
Military career
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1978–1994
Rank Major
Unit HCR

James Lifford Hewitt (born 30 April 1958) is an English former household cavalry officer in the British Army. He had an affair with Diana, Princess of Wales for five years,[1][2] receiving extensive media coverage after revealing details of the affair.

Early life

Hewitt was born in Derry, Northern Ireland,[3] and grew up in Kent[1] and Devon. He was educated at Millfield, a public school, in Street, Somerset.[4]


Military career

Having attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Hewitt was commissioned into the Life Guards, British Army, on 8 April 1978 as a second lieutenant.[5] He was promoted to lieutenant on 8 April 1980.[6] He transferred from a short service commission to a special regular commission on 1 October 1981.[7] He was promoted to captain on 8 October 1984.[8] On 21 October 1985, he transferred from a special regular commission to a regular commission.[9] In 1991, he served as a Challenger tank commander in the Gulf War.[10] He was mentioned in despatches 'in recognition of service during the operation in the Gulf' in June 1991.[11] He failed the exam for promotion to major three times.[10] The rank of Major was conferred on Hewitt after he had retired.

On 1 March 1994, he was retired from the British Army after 17 years' military service.[12]

Later career

Hewitt opened a golf driving range in 1994.[1] Six months after his retirement, Anna Pasternak's Princess in Love, a book for which Hewitt was a major source, was published. Princess in Love by David Greene was a film released in 1996 that is based on this publication. Julie Cox and Christopher Villiers were the actress and the actor who played Diana, Princess of Wales and Hewitt respectively.[13] He opened The Polo House, a bar in the fashionable Golden Mile of Marbella, Spain, in 2009.[10] It closed in 2013 but Hewitt remained in Spain to pursue other interests.[14]

In 2006, Hewitt appeared as a contestant in The X Factor: Battle of the Stars, the celebrity version of The X Factor, in a duo with Rebecca Loos.[15] He also appeared in the first episode of Top Gear UK's Series 8 in May of the same year to participate with other celebrities in setting power lap times around the Top Gear Test Track in the show's newest "reasonably priced car": when the presenters seemingly did not recognize him upon his arrival, they were apparently too embarrassed to admit as much, and rather than ask him his name, they listed his lap time as "Well Spoken Man".[16]

Personal life

Diana stated in her 1995 Panorama interview that she had committed adultery with Hewitt. His former military regiment declared him persona non grata at their barracks.[10]

Hewitt had considered committing suicide after his affair with Diana ended. He was preparing for a trip to France, and he wanted to shoot himself. He said, "I got in my car and loaded a few things up to get on the ferry to go to France – to shoot myself .... And then my mother insisted on coming with me. And, if she hadn't, I would have probably shot myself. So I owe her my life really".[17]

Persistent suggestions have been made in the media that Hewitt, and not Charles, is the biological father of Prince Harry. Hewitt stated to the press in 2002 that Harry had already been born by the time Hewitt and Diana began their affair, a statement also made by Diana's police bodyguard.[18]

In 2003, Hewitt tried to sell his 64 personal letters from Diana for £10 million.[1][19] The act of selling the letters was considered to be a betrayal of trust, and Sarah, Duchess of York, criticised his decision to sell these letters. She was reported to have said, "Betrayal, I think is the most horrible, horrible, disloyal thing you can do to anyone".[20]

In July 2004, Hewitt was arrested outside a restaurant in Fulham with Alison Bell, a CNN journalist, for the possession of cocaine.[21] A drunken Hewitt had 0.36 grams (0.013 oz) of cocaine in his pocket. He was given a warning, and Bell was released without charge. As a result, he was refused reinstatement of his firearms licences because of his "intemperate habits" after police found a disassembled 16-bore shotgun on his living room floor.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Walden, Celia (31 March 2009). "James Hewitt: the comeback cad". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 3 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The Biography Channel article on Hewitt
  3. Walker, Andrew (10 January 2003). "James Hewitt: BBC Profile". BBC News. Retrieved 21 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 47566. p. 7138. 12 June 1978. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  5. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48170. p. 6335. 28 April 1980. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  6. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48970. p. 5962. 30 April 1982. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  7. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49933. p. 15653. 19 November 1984. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50567. p. 8047. 16 June 1986. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  9. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Ipsen, Erik (5 October 1994). "'Kiss and Tell' Officer Draws Heaps of Scorn". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52588. p. 14. 28 June 1991. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  11. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53601. p. 3172. 28 February 1994. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  12. http://dianaslegacy.com/Difilms/?page_id=30
  13. Eden, Richard (10 March 2013). "Princess Diana's lover James Hewitt suffers closure of Spanish business". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Tapper, James (28 May 2006). "Late news: No X Factor for Andrea". Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. James Hewitt. Who is the well spoken man on the top gear leader board? (Television). United Kingdom: kgbanswers.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015. James Lifford Hewitt is the one listed as the "Well Spoken Man", star in a reasonably priced car (The Chevrolet Lacetti), in Top Gear Season 8 Episode 1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Allen, Nick (25 April 2011). "James Hewitt 'considered suicide after Diana affair ended'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Hewitt denies Prince Harry link". BBC News. 21 September 2002.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Davies, Caroline (10 January 2003). "I want £10m for Diana letters, says Hewitt". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Hewitt ready to sell Diana letters". UK: BBC News. 9 January 2003.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Davies, Caroline (23 July 2004). "Hewitt spends night in cells after cocaine arrest with newsreader". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 3 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Davies, Caroline (26 November 2004). "'Liar' Hewitt can't have gun licences back, says judge". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 3 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>