Hewitt to buy pounds 245,000 mansion on Dartmoor

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The Independent Online
JAMES HEWITT, the former army officer who revealed details of an alleged affair with the Princess of Wales, is about to buy an imposing pounds 245,000 Georgian mansion.

In Princess in Love, a 'love story', published on Monday by Bloomsbury and written by Anna Pasternak - the great-niece of the Russian novelist Boris Pasternak - Mr Hewitt details his four-year relationship with the Princess.

Judge Bruce Markham-David, a recorder on the western circuit who has lived in the mansion for 18 years, confirmed yesterday that the deal to sell the Grade II listed Eversfield Manor at Bratton Clovelly, near Okehampton, on the edge of Dartmoor, to Mr Hewitt is due to be completed tomorrow.

Yesterday, the judge's belongings were being moved out of the house which is set on top of a hill just outside the village and commands spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Mr Hewitt, 36, a former acting major in the Household Cavalry, has also bought 36 of the 70 acres of land in which the house is set.

Princess in Love was written after Ms Pasternak had lengthy conversations with Mr Hewitt about his relationship with the princess. The work has been widely panned for its breathless Mills and Boon style as well as for its intimate revelations.

The author and publishers both deny that they have paid any money to Mr Hewitt but there are widespread suspicions that he will benefit financially from sales of the book. Mr Hewitt is thought to have gone abroad to escape the furore surrounding the book's publication.

Six months ago, he was made redundant from his regiment after 15 years' service, having failed his exams to become a major. Although he would have received a one-off redundancy payment of around pounds 40,000 and gets a captain's pension of about pounds 6,000 a year, he was said to have been experiencing financial difficulties.

Mr Hewitt has now been banned from entering any of his regiment's barracks for disgracing it. His name has been 'entered on the gate' - the traditional way in which the regiment condemns a former colleague as persona non grata.

A spokeswoman at Bloomsbury Publishing said yesterday that it had sold more than 100,000 copies of the book to date. This includes the initial print run of 75,000 and additional orders. A further 90,000 copies will be printed this week.

A saleswoman at Dillons bookshop in Gower Street, central London, said yesterday that the branch had sold more than 100 copies on Monday, and sales were going 'very well'.

Yesterday, the Princess of Wales attended her first official engagement since publication. At Kensington Palace, she launched an army expedition to northern Kenya by 30 members of her own regiment, the Princess of Wales's Regiment, and 10 underprivileged teenagers.

She was reported by those present to be looking happy and composed - apparently unruffled by the events of the week.

Leading article, page 13

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