Prince Harry Calls Out 'Cruel' James Hewitt Paternity Rumors

Prince Harry is a well-known opponent of the British media. He's openly discussed his disdain for the press in interviews, his memoir "Spare," and his Netflix series "Harry & Meghan." Harry's latest battle involves a lawsuit against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), which own several tabloids. Harry's lawsuit claims that MGN used nefarious means to get intel on the prince for over a decade. Needless to say, Harry is not going down without a fight. In early June 2023, Prince Harry took the stand and gave court testimony where he spoke out about the long-standing rumors that Princess Diana's lover, James Hewitt, and not King Charles, is his father.

The media heavily perpetuated this rumor, and the release of a The People article in 2002 titled "Plot to Rob the DNA of Harry" brought that speculation to a fever pitch. Speaking of the gossip, Harry said (via Newsweek), "They were hurtful, mean, and cruel. I was always left questioning the motives behind the stories. Were the newspapers keen to put doubt into the minds of the public so I might be ousted from the royal family?" As Harry explained, the publication wanted to acquire his DNA and test it to prove if Hewitt or Charles was his father.

Princess Diana and James Hewitt had an affair after Harry's birth

James Hewitt is a former military man that met Princess Diana in 1986. The pair hit it off at a party, and Hewitt subsequently became Diana's riding instructor. Although she was married to King Charles, she began a relationship with Hewitt, which ended in 1991. News of the affair came to light in 1994. Due to Hewitt's red hair, the press speculated that he could be Prince Harry's father. However, this is out of the question, as Harry was born in 1984, before Diana knew Hewitt. Despite this, the rumors that Hewitt is Harry's father refused to die down.

Harry addressed this discrepancy in his court testimony for the MGN lawsuit. Referring to the salacious "Plot to Rob the DNA of Harry" story, Harry revealed (per Newsweek), "At the time of this article and others similar to it, I wasn't actually aware that my mother hadn't met Major Hewitt until after I was born."

He added, "This timeline is something I only learnt of in around 2014, although I now understand this was common knowledge amongst the defendant's journalists." Harry noted that this ultimately caused him anguish. In his 2023 book "Spare," he revealed the rumors also affected his relationship with Charles.

King Charles joked about the paternity rumors

In "Spare," Prince Harry controversially discussed the good, the bad, and the ugly surrounding the royal family. Harry also disclosed that his father, King Charles, brought up the paternity rumors that weres swirling in the press. According to Us Weekly, Harry wrote that Charles once said," 'Who knows if I'm really the Prince of Wales? Who knows if I'm even your real father? Maybe your real father is in Broadmoor, darling boy!'" (For reference, Broadmoor is a psychiatric hospital in England.)

Harry added that, besides Charles, media consumers found this rumor hilarious. He said, "They couldn't get enough of this 'joke,' for some reason. Maybe it made them feel better about their lives that a young prince's life was laughable." On the other hand, James Hewitt has also denied the paternity rumors and has explicitly said that he and Princess Diana's affair began when Harry was a toddler.

In 2017, he went on the Australian show "Sunday Night" and was asked if he was Harry's father. Hewitt said no and explained why the rumors persisted. He said, "It sells papers, It's worse for him (Harry) probably, poor chap." That said, Harry has much at stake with his lawsuit against MGN. Newsweek reported that if he loses, he risks paying $20 million in legal fees.