James Hewitt: who is Diana’s ex lover, how long were they together, did he write a book about their affair?

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Netflix series The Crown explores James Hewitt’s five year affair with Princess Diana

The Crown season five has landed on Netflix and the historical drama continues to delve into the tumultuous era of the 1990s.

The Queen famously described 1992 as her “annus horribilis” after a series of scandals relating to her children Charles, Andrew and Anne. The latest series of The Crown focuses on the breakdown of Princess Diana’s marriage with Charles and her well documented affair with James Hewitt.

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Hewitt has since written a series of books discussing the affair and it is believed to have taken place over five years between 1986 and 1991. Diana at the time was married to Charles, former Prince of Wales and heir to the throne.

But who is James Hewitt and where is he now? Here is everything you need to know.

THe Crown has focused on the affair between Princess Diana and James Hewitt. (Getty Images)THe Crown has focused on the affair between Princess Diana and James Hewitt. (Getty Images)
THe Crown has focused on the affair between Princess Diana and James Hewitt. (Getty Images) | Getty Images

Who is James Hewitt?

James Lifford Hewitt is a British former cavalry officer who served in the British Army. He is best known for his well documented affair with Diana, Princess of Wales, who at the time was married to the then heir to the throne Prince Charles.

Hewitt was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, on 30 April 1958. His father was an officer in the British Navy and Hewitt would follow in his father’s footsteps at the age of 20 by joining the Brigade of Guards.

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Hewitt served in the army for 17 years from 1978 until 1995. During this time, Hewitt climbed the ranks and worked his way up to second lieutenant in Life Guards.

Since leaving the army, Hewitt has released a book which documented his relationship with Princess Diana and he has also appeared in a series of TV shows such as Channel 5 Back to Reality and the Celebrity X Factor spin-off Battle of the Stars.

When did James Hewitt meet Princess Diana?

The breakdown  of Princess Diana’s relationship with Charles is explored in The Crown series 5. (Getty Images)The breakdown  of Princess Diana’s relationship with Charles is explored in The Crown series 5. (Getty Images)
The breakdown of Princess Diana’s relationship with Charles is explored in The Crown series 5. (Getty Images) | Getty Images

The moment that would ultimately launch Hewitt into the public spotlight came in 1986, when the officer met Princess Diana at a party.

Ken Wharfe wrote in the book Diana: Closely Guarded Secret: “Their first conversation felt natural, she said, and it was this that sparked her attraction. As she put it, they got along famously.”

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During their initial conversation Hewitt offered to become Diana’s riding instructor to help her overcome her fear of horses.

Shortly after becoming Diana’s riding instructor, the two became romantically involved. Hewitt revealed in his book Princess In Love, that he and Diana engaged in an affair for five years between 1986 and 1991.

Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles in 1986 was believed to be very rocky and Charles was reportedly engaging in an affair of his own with his former girlfriend and future wife Camilla Parker-Bowles.

How did the relationship between Princess Diana and James Hewitt end?

By the end of the 1980s Hewitt had been given command of a tank squadron and was given increased responsibility within the army. This senior role led to him to spend long periods of time abroad, this left Diana feeling betrayed and Wharfe claims that “Diana let the affair wane.”

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What did Princess Diana say about James Hewitt?

During a famous BBC panorama interview in 1995, The Princess of Wales opened up about her affair with Hewitt and said: “Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down.”

Where is James Hewitt now?

In 2009, Hewitt opened a bar in Marbella named The Polo House which had al fresco dining and served cocktails. The bar closed down four years later in 2013.

Hewitt is now 62-years-old and he is reportedly working as a gardener for his mother in Devon. Hewitt does not have any children.

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