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, receiving extensive media coverage after revealing details of the affair.
Having attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Hewitt was commissioned into the Life Guards, British Army, on 8 April 1978 as a second lieutenant. He was promoted to lieutenant on 8 April 1980. He transferred from a short service commission to a special regular commission on 1 October 1981. He was promoted to captain on 8 October 1984. On 21 October 1985, he transferred from a special regular commission to a regular commission. In 1991, he served as a Challenger tank commander in the Gulf War. He was mentioned in despatches 'in recognition of service during the operation in the Gulf' in June 1991. He failed the exam for promotion to major three times.
On 1 March 1994, he was retired from the British Army after 17 years military service.
Hewitt opened a golf driving range in 1994. 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. He opened The Polo House, a bar in the fashionable Golden Mile of Marbella, Spain, in 2009. It closed in 2013 but Hewitt remained in Spain to pursue other interests.
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". He also said, "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".
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 the affair between him and Diana began (a statement corroborated by Diana's police bodyguard).
In 2003 he tried to sell his 64 personal letters from Diana for £10 million. 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".
In July 2004, Hewitt was arrested outside a restaurant in Fulham with Alison Bell, a CNN journalist, for the possession of cocaine. 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.
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- The Biography Channel article on Hewitt
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- Eden, Richard (2013-03-10). "Princess Diana’s lover James Hewitt suffers closure of Spanish business". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
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- "Hewitt denies Prince Harry link". BBC News. 21 September 2002.
- Davies, Caroline (10 January 2003). "I want £10m for Diana letters, says Hewitt". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
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- Davies, Caroline (23 Jul 2004). "Hewitt spends night in cells after cocaine arrest with newsreader". Telegraph.co.uk (London: Telegraph Media Group Limited). Retrieved 3 August 2009.
- Davies, Caroline (26 Nov 2004). "'Liar' Hewitt can't have gun licences back, says judge". Telegraph.co.uk (London: Telegraph Media Group Limited). Retrieved 3 August 2009.