Princess Diana’s ex-lover James Hewitt was reportedly fighting for his life last night after suffering a heart attack and stroke, according to British media reports. The 59-year-old ex-army officer reportedly suffered a heart attack and stroke last night, Saturday, May 13, while on a waiting list to see an NHS consultant for a pre-existing illness.
Relatives said he was recovering and receiving follow-up treatment after an emergency operation to resolve complications due to the heart attack and stroke.
Doctors said last night that Hewitt underwent an emergency surgery and had only a “slim chance” of survival. After the surgery, he was placed under intensive care at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, according to the Mirror. Relatives said he was recovering after surgery and that they were hopeful he would pull through.
However, he is expected to remain in the hospital for several weeks.
He was rushed at first to the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth but was later transferred to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for specialist care, the Daily Mail reported.
Hewitt’s illness comes only a few weeks after he gave a rare interview on Australian TV in which he denied persistent rumors that he is Prince Harry’s real father with Princess Diana.
Princess Diana's former lover James Hewitt ‘suffered a heart attack and stroke' https://t.co/EtD4y2IAFt
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) May 14, 2017
After viewers noted that he looked slightly emaciated when he appeared in the interview, a relative confirmed that he was ill at the time. The spokesperson said he had been on a waiting list to see an NHS consultant when he suffered a heart attack.
“The family were concerned. He was all set for a procedure when he had a heart attack,” the relative said. “He had a pre-existing illness, then got seriously ill. Suddenly it got very critical and he was rushed to hospital.”
“It was pretty serious but hopefully we’re all OK now. He is recovering and has been moved to Exeter.”
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) May 14, 2017
Hewitt, a Gulf War hero, who retired from the Army in 1994 after putting in 17 years of service, had a five-year love affair with Princess Diana from 1986 to 1991 while she was married to Prince Charles. According to some accounts, the pair met at a party in Mayfair in 1986 when Diana was 25 and Hewitt was 28. Another account claims they met in 1986 when she hired the young cavalry officer to teach her to ride horses.
Diana and Hewitt split in 1991 after the affair was made public. Charles and Diana separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996 after Diana admitted in a 1995 interview on BBC’s Panorama with Martin Bashir that she had an affair with Hewitt.
The two were seeing each other while Prince Charles was reportedly also having an illicit affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Diana’s confession sparked the rumor that 32-year-old Prince Harry was fathered by Hewitt. Hewitt finally denied being Prince Harry’s father in the interview on Australian TV in March.
“No I’m not,” the former cavalry officer answered when the host asked him whether he was Prince Harry’s father.
“It’s worse for him [Prince Harry], probably, poor chap,” he said, when asked how he felt about the rumor.
There was a public backlash against the BBC earlier this month after King Charles III, a BBC 2 drama production, repeated the unsubstantiated rumor.
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) May 14, 2017
Sources close to the royal family, including Paul Burrell, a former butler to the royal family, insisted it was not possible that Hewitt was Harry’s father because Harry was already a toddler when Diana and Hewitt met. Hewitt himself claimed on a number of occasions that Harry was born before he met Diana.
After Hewitt left the Army, he tried his hands at running a number of small businesses, including The Polo House, a trendy bar in Marbella, Spain, according to the Daily Mail. But after suffering bankruptcy twice, he took up residence with his mother Shirley in a small two-bedroom apartment in Exeter.
He tried on a number of occasions to profit commercially from his relationship with Diana. He attempted to sell his collection of letters from Diana in 2015. He was able to earn a modest income from Princess In Love, a book about his romantic relationship with Diana.
Hewitt claimed he considered committing suicide after the affair was made public, according to The Sun. He claimed he planned to shoot himself during a trip to France but he had to abandon the plan after his mother insisted on coming.
“I got in my car and loaded a few things to go to France – to shoot myself. Then my mother insisted on coming. If she hadn’t, I would probably have shot myself.”
[Featured Image by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]