A classic case of how two wrongs NEVER make a right.
Granted Princess Diana was miserable in her marriage and Prince Charles drew first blood by hooking back up with his long time love Camilla (whom he has now married) but going out and dating other men somehow did not quite remedy the situation, neither did it necessarily make her any happier.
I think most of it was done to try and make Charles jealous enough to at least try to salvage their marriage by giving Camilla up but that did not happen and Diana‘s downward spiral and infamous love affairs have become the storyline for a movie starring Naomi Watts.
Her sons are both mature adults now and were she alive she would be a proud grandma, and yet they have to contend with stories such as this yet again. In typical Hollywood tradition, only her escapades seem to have been chronicled.
All the same, having a lover kiss and tell on you, especially when you are as high up as Diana was, is particularly tragic. It’s refreshing to see karma swing so swiftly into action though. It is not always we actually get to see people get their just desserts right here and now. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
- Princess Diana’s former lover has been seen living in Devon with his mother
- He looks worse for wear and uses 85-year-old Mrs Hewitt’s car to get around
- The former Army captain and polo player is back in England after a failed business venture
He used to love a good Chablis, but these days it’s a bottle of cheap wine usually drunk alone in the bar of a local hotel.
He used to enjoy driving a rich lady friend’s shining Bentley around Chelsea, but these days he squeezes his bulky 6ft-plus frame behind the wheel of his 84-year-old mother Shirley’s ancient black Fiat Punto and runs her to the shops.
The tragedy of James Hewitt, a tank commander hero in the Gulf War, is that it was once within his grasp to be a hero in love as well. All he had to do was be discreet about his five-year affair with Princess Diana.
Instead, unlike the other men in her life, he turned their affair into a business, marketing himself as her lover.
Today, that business is bust. He is virtually broke, his looks are gone and, at the age of 55, he is sheltering under his widowed mother’s comforting roof, sharing her two-bed flat in an old, converted mansion in the Devon village of Farringdon.
One ex-Army officer colleague, with whom he is still in touch, says: ‘James has become very reclusive – he doesn’t return calls and sometimes doesn’t go out all day.’
For Mrs Hewitt, a dentist’s daughter and ex-riding instructor who met Diana when she came to stay, the pleasure of cooking again for her only son – whom she calls ‘Jay’ – can never entirely compensate for her shattered dreams that he would settle down ‘with a nice girl’ and have a family.
Of course, it’s never too late. And she still believes ‘Jay is as considerate with his women friends as he has always been with me’.
But he is not the catch he used to be, no longer ‘like a thoroughbred racehorse’, as Diana used to say.
Indeed, he could hardly strike a more different figure from the Adonis described in the nauseating Mills-and-Boon-style book, Princess In Love, which he helped journalist Anna Pasternak write – a book in which the Princess, lying in the bath, admires the ‘curve and shape of his back’
Diana, incidentally, ceremoniously ripped a copy to shreds, page by page. And later a cartoon appeared in a loo at her Kensington Palace apartment depicting a pile of manure swarming with flies, with the caption: ‘What’s that smell? It must be James Hewitt.’
How would Diana view her former lover today? Would she even recognise him as the taut, lean, preeningly handsome figure from that oft-seen photograph of her presenting him with a polo cup in 1989?
These days, the man prone to boasting about his conquests – ‘50 women in the past six years’ he informed a female fellow guest at a lunch, ‘do you think I’m a cad?’ – and about the size of his manhood displays all the signs of middle age.
He is running to fat and balding, a thoroughbred who should long ago have been put out to grass.
Some of his old acquaintances are surprised to see him back on English soil, for only four years ago he left to open a bar in Marbella, claiming he was ‘letting go of England’, explaining: ‘I am no longer wanted in Britain. I could never walk down Oxford Street again. I couldn’t live with the rejection.’
But Hewitt has returned and the reason is that he was also rejected in Marbella. He was the front man, the lure, whose charming presence was expected to bring in the punters at the Polo House restaurant and club on Marbella’s Golden Mile.
Hewitt had earned around £100,000 from Princess In Love, a further substantial sum from his memoirs, and for a while had done quite well from reality TV appearances on the back of his affair with the Princess. Then, in 2009, he decided to invest what he’d made in the Marbella bar.
‘James acquired the premises before I came on the scene,’ says his former business partner Ram Nandkishore. ‘By the time I arrived, he had no money. I then invested substantial sums to make it work.
‘My investment was in James himself, actually. We called it Polo House because that was him, wasn’t it? He ran it.
‘For the first 18 months it was fine, people were thrilled to meet him and we did good business. But then it started to lose money.
‘We were unlucky with the recession, of course, but the success of the club relied on James’s magic, and no one’s magic lasts for ever.’
Earlier this year, Polo House closed, and Ram took over the premises and licences from the former Cavalry captain. They parted, he says, ‘on good terms’.
The failure of Polo House caused Hewitt to withdraw into his shell. He disappeared from the social scene and was no longer a regular in Marbella’s nightspots.
‘I think he was badly affected by his failure to bring in the customers,’ says one local friend.
Hewitt was said to be ‘pursuing new interests’, but this week it emerged he has been quietly living at his mother’s for some time.
But flitting anonymously around Devon in his mother’s Fiat was not how Hewitt intended it to be – not for the officer who hoped the luckless Diana would be his passport to riches and celebrity.
‘James has become very reclusive – he doesn’t return calls and sometimes doesn’t go out all day.’ – Former army colleague
For a while, he was seeking £10 million for more than 60 letters the Princess wrote to him while he was serving in the Gulf War – a war, ironically enough, about which he doesn’t talk, even though his heroism there saved many lives when he refused an order to turn his tank squadron’s guns on what turned out to be an allied field hospital.
Diana gently appealed to him to give the letters back to her, then angrily demanded them. He told her he wasn’t able to because his mother had destroyed them on a bonfire. It was a barefaced lie.
Later, in a bitter legal wrangle with Diana’s family, it was decided that the letters were his, but the words were Diana’s copyright. It was stalemate, but the result was a universal uproar.
In trying to cash in on them, Hewitt had gone from being a mere cad to a swine. He is thought to still have the letters.
All this would have been bad enough on its own. But then, in 2005, the former Cavalry officer shocked even his most ardent critics by producing, with languid insousiance, a revised account of his affair with Diana.
Previously, he’d maintained it didn’t start until 1986, but now he claimed it began in 1982, almost before the echoes of the St Paul’s Cathedral wedding bells had died away.
The new version of events was related as a ‘confession’ in a biography of publicist Max Clifford, who represented him.
And with pernicious timing, publication of the book in the wake of Prince Harry’s 21st birthday ensured maximum reverberation. Hewitt has, however, denied that he could possibly be Prince Harry’s father.
Hewitt even allowed himself to be hypnotised and ‘taken back’ to his Diana days for prime time TV on Channel 5.
Under this apparent hypnosis, he talked of meeting the Princess in 1981 and their first kiss in 1982 – ‘I felt young. It was exciting.’ By that time, however, no one was taking Hewitt seriously any more.
The war hero mentioned in dispatches had already admitted to a drink problem. The previous year (2004), he had been arrested for possession of cocaine.
Now the officer who three times failed his exams for the rank of major had exposed himself as a man who had no regard for the truth, and changed his story to suit his circumstances.
But then, his judgment has never been sound. He invested half the £60,000 he received when he left the Army in a golf driving range in the City of London, and lost it. He opened a riding school, but it failed. Then came the Polo House.
‘James must have some new scheme in mind,’ says an old acquaintance. ‘He always does – he has to.’
He has to because there is no family money to speak of and his Army Captain’s pension is only around £600 a month.
What a contrast Hewitt’s fate now seems compared with those of Diana’s other lovers – lovers who kept their counsel.
Take James Gilbey, the charming sports PR executive who has never admitted or denied anything about himself and Diana.
He was on the other end of the line when an eavesdropper recorded Diana’s notorious ‘Squidgygate’ telephone conversation in 1989, declaring his love for her and calling her ‘Squidgy’.
Gilbey worked for Lotus cars at the time. Today, at 57, he is a successful businessman living in Knightsbridge and remains single.
Then there is Old Etonian Oliver Hoare, an art dealer with whom Diana became obsessed and had an affair in the early 1990s, even though he was married. Neither Hoare, now 68, nor his wife has ever uttered a word publicly about Diana.
Will Carling, the former England rugby captain, has also refused to discuss whether he and Diana had a sexual relationship, saying only that he ‘never made a pass at her’.
Carling and his TV presenter wife, Julia, split amid rumours about his affair with the Princess. He is now 47, runs a corporate hospitality business and has remarried.
Likewise, Hasnat Khan, the Pakistani-born heart surgeon with whom Diana had a passionate affair for two years, has only recently spoken cautiously, and never for money, about the princess, praising her charity work and refusing to divulge anything personal about their relationship.
Now 54, and working at Basildon University Hospital in Essex, he is single after the failure of an arranged marriage.
The great irony is that the one man who tried to profit from his affair with Diana is now on his uppers.
To make matters worse, Hewitt is no longer welcome among fellow officers: the solid doors of the Cavalry and Guards Club at 127 Piccadilly have been closed to him.
He may be back in England, but he has condemned himself always to be an outsider.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk