Where there is smoke there is fire, if these are the kinds of questions that linger for the Royals after Lady D’s death. then they might be some truth to it.
As the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approaches, a new book takes another look at a long-dismissed claim that Prince Harry’s father was actually Diana’s lover, James Hewitt.
American writer Christopher Andersen, author of After Diana: William, Harry, Charles and the Royal House of Windsor (out today, Hyperion, $25.95), also says Harry eventually will serve in Afghanistan — as a kind of compensation for not being allowed to serve with his Army regiment in Iraq. “I think they’ll wait until the interest dies down,” he says, “and then they’ll get him (to Afghanistan) and back before anyone knows it.”
And the split between older brother Prince William and girlfriend Kate Middleton? Maybe not so permanent, Andersen says, suggesting the breakup may have been calculated to relieve the pressure on Middleton from the British press. “I think she’ll be back in the picture,” says Andersen, who was in London when the split was announced. “The entire country was stunned beyond belief.”
Even more shocking is the possibility that Harry, 22, third in line to the throne, might not be a Windsor. If true, and there is no scientific proof, it would be the ultimate payback by Diana against her ex-husband, Prince Charles.
Andersen’s book, his third about Diana, is an attempt to “defend her honor” against 10 years of calumny since she died. “It’s about her legacy and the new generation,” he says. “She has been portrayed as scheming and neurotic, and it’s patently unfair. For all her faults, and she had plenty, she was a pretty gutsy young woman.”
But perhaps reckless. Diana and Hewitt separately denied he was Harry’s father, saying they hadn’t met until two years after Harry was born in 1984. But Andersen names witnesses, such as British public relations guru Max Clifford, who say that Diana and Hewitt met as early as 1981 and that they were lovers by January 1984, nine months before Harry’s birth.
“It’s not just the physical resemblance — and I can pick out dozens of photos that show this — it’s the peculiar expressions, the walk, the mannerisms” the two share, Andersen says.
The British press, which usually is agog about any scandal having to do with Diana, has not made much of this claim lately. “It’s such rubbish,” says Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty, the monarchy-admiring magazine. She says it may well be true Diana and Hewitt met long before they claimed, but it doesn’t mean Harry’s not a Windsor. “It’s so obvious when you see Harry. He is the spitting image of (Prince) Philip. His close-set eyes are a Windsor trait. His red hair, that’s very Spencer. It’s ridiculous.”
Andersen says the paternity question has long gnawed at Harry and may have played a role in his occasionally boorish behavior in recent years. Andersen says Harry was concerned enough about his paternity that he volunteered for a DNA test — an idea quashed by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. “Even if it were proven, it would not mean he’d be banished from the family — Charles would never change his feelings toward Harry,” Andersen says.
It would mean Harry could no longer be in the line of succession, but he might not view that as a bad thing. Says Andersen: “Harry’s nightmare is that someday he’ll end up with the crown if something happens to William.”