Hewitt affair returns to haunt Diana

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The Independent Online
LOUISE JURY

The Prince of Wales headed off to the ski slopes of Klosters this weekend as the Princess of Wales was facing embarrassment from her former lover the ex-Army captain James Hewitt, who has given his first television interview on their affair.

News of the potentially explosive revelations from Mr Hewitt came as lawyers acting for the Prince and Princess attempted quiet diplomacy over their divorce negotiations.

A royal war of words broke out on Wednesday after the Princess announced that she had had a private meeting with her husband that afternoon and agreed to end the marriage.

She said they had agreed she would take the title Diana, Princess of Wales, and continue to live at Kensington Palace. But Buckingham Palace expressed surprise and said all details remained to be settled.

The contradictory statements prompted a tough letter from Anthony Julius, the Princess's solicitor, to Fiona Shackleton at Farrer and Co, who acts for the Prince. Mr Julius warned: "If we cannot rely on agreements that have been made, it would be unsafe to continue negotiations."

Late yesterday, Jane Atkinson, the Princess's press adviser, said a response had been received and Mr Julius was now considering the situation. But she said: "We are giving no information about it at all. The discussions now between the lawyers are absolutely confidential." She said the Princess, who pulled out of an engagement on Thursday in distress, had recovered her spirits.

A spokeswoman for the Prince's solicitor, Fiona Shackleton, said she had nothing to say - a view repeated by Buckingham Palace.

The silence left royal watchers with the more gossip- worthy revelation that Mr Hewitt, the 37-year-old former Army captain, has given a filmed interview to the journalist Anna Pasternak, who wrote a much-derided book about his relations with the Princess.

Sebastian Rich, 42, a former ITN cameraman, was named as the film crew for the kiss-and-tell footage in which Mr Hewitt reportedly answers 130 questions about every aspect of his royal liaison. Miss Pasternak, 29, said: "Mr Hewitt is very frank, honest and candid about their physical relationship in the same way as the Princess was in her Panorama interview."

Broadcasting experts estimated the film could fetch a seven-figure sum with world-wide interest, heightened by the royal divorce. The London office of the American network CBS News said: "There was a scramble for Diana's Panorama interview and this is undoubtedly going to be the same."

In her interview, the Princess said she had "adored" Mr Hewitt, "but I was very let down".

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