The news that Prince Harry is writing memoir due out next year has sent shock waves through Buckingham and Kensington Palaces, which were reportedly unaware a tell-all book penned by the prince was in the offing. The Royal Family had already been bracing for the worst with next month’s release of the updated edition of 2020’s sudsy Finding Freedom, which is said to cover the behind-the-scenes story of Megxit as well as the events in the Sussexes’ lives since moving to California, as told by the couple’s closest friends and allies.
Harry made it a point in his statement about his memoir that he would be writing “a firsthand account of [his] life that’s accurate and wholly truthful” and will be “intimate and heartfelt.” In keeping with his promise to be accurate and truthful, there is one particularly hurtful lie about the prince that he is unlikely to address in his upcoming book. Read on to find out what Harry is sure to avoid in his memoir and the backstory of its origins.
The persistent lie that Prince Charles was not Harry’s father has plagued the Royal Family for decades.
The allegations that Harry was not Prince Charles’ son, but rather the love child of Princess Diana and Major James Hewitt has persisted for decades. The gossip has been fueled over the years by the red-headed prince’s slight resemblance to Hewitt when, in fact, Diana’s father was a redhead and her sisters and brother, Charles, Earl Spencer, all had red hair when they were young. It’s clear Harry has grown to look very much like Charles with his close-set blue eyes and nearly identical nose.
Most significantly, Harry was born in 1984, two years before Diana even met Hewitt. Several of those closest to the princess, including her former bodyguard Ken Wharfe, have condemned the lie and spoken out against it in hopes of putting the rumors to rest. Wharfe wrote in his 2002 book Diana: Closely Guarded Secret: “The malicious rumors that still persist about the paternity of Prince Harry used to anger Diana greatly. The nonsense should be scotched here and now … and the red hair gossips so love to cite as proof is, of course, a Spencer trait.”
There have been several reports that Charles addressed the rumors with then-16-year-old Harry before he went off to Eton College and assured him that he was his biological father.
“Harry would never touch this subject,” one source told Best Life. “It was mere gossip and hurt Diana deeply, so there is little chance Harry will mention anything of it in his memoir.”
Diana admitted to her relationship with Hewitt, but said she was “devastated” by his behavior later.
In the course of her infamous interview with the now-discredited BBC reporter Martin Bashir, Diana admitted that her relationship with Hewitt was more than a close friendship. Bashir asked, “Were you unfaithful?” in regards to Diana’s relationship with Hewitt, to which she replied: “Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down.”
According to numerous accounts, Diana began seeing Hewitt around the same time Charles resumed his affair with then-Camilla Parker Bowles, who became the Duchess of Cornwall when the couple married in 2005. The first time Diana and Hewitt met, the princess learned he was a staff captain in the Household Cavalry whose responsibilities included running the stables.
In the BBC interview, Diana said that she was “devastated” by Hewitt’s decision to collaborate with author Anna Pasternak on the tell-all book called Princess in Love in 1994, two years after the princess broke things off with him and a year before the BBC interview. “He was a great friend of mine at a very difficult, yet another difficult time, and he was always there to support me, and I was absolutely devastated when this book appeared, because I trusted him,” Diana told Bashir. “And, yes, there was factual evidence in the book, but a lot of it was, comes from another world, didn’t equate to what happened.”
Telling the story of the affair through Hewitt’s eye’s, Pasternak’s highly romanticized version of events claimed that after Diana pored out her heart to her riding instructor about her deep loneliness and unhappiness, the career military man was prompted to take “the first steps” in becoming more than friends by taking her hand and telling the princess, “You are not alone, you have me.” Diana told Bashir: “There was a lot of fantasy in that book, and it was very distressing for me that a friend of mine, who I had trusted, made money out of me. I really minded about that. And he’d rung me up 10 days before it arrived in the bookshops to tell me that there was nothing to worry about, and I believed him, stupidly.”
Hewitt himself denied he was Harry’s father, but still betrayed the princess over and over again.
In her book The Diana Chronicles, Tina Brown described Hewitt as “a younger, cuter, less complicated, and far less burdened version of Prince Charles: cordial, mannerly, and handsome in the tall, chiseled, storybook way that Diana always admired.” When Diana broke off her five-year relationship with Hewitt in 1992, he turned his back on her by agreeing to be the main source for Pasternak’s book. In 1999, two years after Diana’s death, Hewitt penned his own book, Love and War, about his relationship with the princess.
Years later, however, Hewitt did deny being Harry’s father, telling the Sunday Mirror in 2002: “There really is no possibility whatsoever that I am Harry’s father. I can absolutely assure you that I am not. Admittedly the red hair is similar to mine, and people say we look alike. I have never encouraged these comparisons and although I was with Diana for a long time, I must state once and for all that I’m not Harry’s father. When I met Diana, he was already a toddler.”
But in 2003, in a truly astonishing betrayal, a cash-strapped Hewitt attempted to sell his letters from Diana to the highest bidder, saying they were worth at least £10 million (about $14 million). Hewitt justified his actions by telling Larry King, “I think it is important to understand that they are, or will become, important historical documents … I think it would be irresponsible to destroy them,” he added. “If they were sold for £10 million, I think, you know, ask your peers who wouldn’t be inclined to sell them for that?”
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Even without addressing the allegations about Hewitt, Harry’s memoir could prove very damaging to the Royal Family.
Richard Kay, a longtime and well-connected royal correspondent, wrote in a July 20 article for the Daily Mail that a “senior figure” criticized Harry’s decision to write the memoir. “It takes a special kind of hypocrisy to complain about your privacy and then to co-operate on an intimate memoir covering every aspect of your life,” the source said. Kay also noted that for a $20 million payday, Harry must have promised to serve up a lot of royal tea, which could include more details about his rift with William, “which potentially could be the most damaging of all for the long-term well-being of the monarchy.”
One royal insider told Best Life: “For a man who left the U.K. to get away from the media in search of privacy, he just can’t tear himself away from the spotlight. Harry has embraced American celebrity. There has never been a member of the Royal Family who has incessantly talked about his own life in the media like this while dragging the rest of the family into the muck. He likely will not address the lies about Hewitt, but there are a lot of other things he could and will write about that could upset the family. His mother gave one interview and came to bitterly regret it, but Harry just keeps talking. The royals are horrified.”