James Hewitt frequently had to palm off rumours that he could be Prince Harry’s father
James Hewitt, Princess Diana’s former lover, has reportedly been fighting for his life in hospital after suffering a stroke and heart attack.
The 58-year-old was said to have been placed in intensive care after an emergency operation relating to a pre-existing illness.
The Sunday Mirror reported that his family are hopeful he will pull through. He is now said to be recovering and has been moved to a different hospital.
A relative said the family were “concerned” after the former British Army officer suffered the cardiac arrest just before going in for a medical procedure.
Mr Hewitt was reportedly in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth before being transferred to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
“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 and has been moved to Exeter.”
Mr Hewitt, a household calvary officer who was born in Northern Ireland but spent most of his life in the West Country, had an affair with Diana in the 1980s while she was still married to Prince Charles.
In a now iconic photo, thought to have been taken amid their secret relationship, Diana is pictured presenting the Captain and Subalterns Cup to Mr Hewitt after leading his Army polo team to glory at Tidworth, Wiltshire.
Diana and Prince Charles separated in 1992 and divorced four years later.
The Princess admitted to Martin Bashir for BBC’s Panorama in 1995 – in an interview that enraged Buckingham Palace – that she had an affair with Mr Hewitt.
The former lieutenant, who served in the Gulf War, has frequently had to palm off rumours that he could be Prince Harry’s father.
The claims, which royal butler Paul Burrell said were impossible given that Mr Hewitt did not meet Diana until her youngest son was already a toddler, were referenced in BBC2 drama King Charles III on Wednesday.
Speaking on Australian TV in March, Mr Hewitt was asked if he was Harry’s biological father, to which he replied: “No I’m not”. He added: “It’s worse for him, probably, poor chap.”
Mr Hewitt’s agent told The Telegraph that she has not spoken to Mr Hewitt in two weeks and has been unable to contact him since the news of his illness was broken to her.
Teresa Quinlan said she did not know of any pre-existing medical condition and said Mr Hewitt will have a close set of friends looking out for him.
“I can’t confirm anything,” she said. “The last time I had communication with him was by text message two weeks ago and at that point he said he was not feeling well and was in bed with a bug.
“I’ve tried to get hold of him a couple of times over the last couple of weeks and I haven’t been able to and the first I heard of this was when a newspaper contacted me yesterday. His mobile phone has been off and I’ve tried him a couple of times.
“I am quite concerned about him because, as I say, the last time I was in contact with him he was just in bed with a bug. I am just hoping that he makes contact with me when he puts his phone back on.”