James Hewitt, the dashing, polo-playing army officer who was Princess Diana’s former lover and the man who has long been the subject of rumors concerning Prince Harry’s paternity, is fighting for his life at a hospital after suffering a stroke and heart attack.
Doctors gave him “just a slim chance” of survival after he reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest just before the procedure.
However his family is now said to be “hopeful he will pull through.”
“He had a pre-existing illness, then got seriously ill. Suddenly it got very critical and he was rushed to hospital,” a source told the Sunday Mirror. “It was pretty serious, but hopefully we’re all OK now. He is recovering.”
Hewitt, a dashing household cavalry officer, had a five-year affair with Diana in the 1980s while she was still married to Prince Charles.
In a now-iconic photo, taken during the affair, Diana is pictured presenting the Captain and Subalterns Cup to a flushed Hewitt, who had just led his army polo team to glory at Tidworth, Wiltshire.
However Hewitt earned the nickname “the Cad” after he sold the story of his affair to the media, and he has repeatedly attempted to sell Diana’s letters for millions of dollars.
Diana admitted to interviewer Martin Bashir in 1995 that she had an affair with Hewitt.
Asked by Bashir whether she had been unfaithful with James Hewitt, she said: “Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down,” before seguing onto her damning remark about her husband’s love for Camilla Parker-Bowles: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
However it is the persistent rumor that he might be Prince Harry’s father, with whom he shares a strong physical resemblance, that has sustained public fascination with Hewitt.
(Harry loyalists argue that the resemblance stems from the fact that Hewitt looks like Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer.)
Hewitt has spent much of the past decades denying the allegation, but has often been suspected of quietly stoking the claims for publicity when it has suited him.
For instance, he told the playwright Jon Conway, in a scene portrayed in his play Truth, Lies, Diana that he and Princess Diana began their affair some years before Prince Harry was conceived.
The official line has always been that Hewitt did not meet Diana until her youngest son was already a toddler.
But he told Conway: “Diana and I started our relationship more than a year before Harry was born. Now that doesn’t prove that I am his father. It’s just the inconvenient truth.”
However speaking on Australian TV in March, when was asked if he was Harry's biological father, he replied: "No I'm not…It's worse for him, probably, poor chap."