Scandal tempts ex-Guard with profit: Friendship with the Princess has returned former officer to the spotlight. Danny Penman reports

JAMES Hewitt, who is at the centre of yet another royal scandal, has a classic Life Guards' background. Educated at a prep school, and then at Millfield public school, he is described as looking like Edward Fox meets the Barbour mail order catalogue.

His parents separated 12 years ago - after which he refused to speak to his father and now lives with his mother. On leaving Millfield he joined the Guards and saw service during the Gulf conflict, where he commanded a battle group which, during the liberation of Kuwait, reportedly destroyed 300 Iraqi tanks and took 8,000 prisoners. After failing his major's exam - he was only an acting major - he retired with a lump sum, believed to be worth pounds 40,000.

The tabloid newspapers started to take a strong interest in him after publication of the 'squidgy tapes' in August 1992. These were said to be telephone conversations between himself and the Princess of Wales.

The tabloids then discovered that he had a reputation as a ladies man. His main problem, one friend said, 'is that in finding his way through life he keeps his compass in his trousers'. He was said to have confided in one former girlfriend: 'I ought to tell you that I have known at least 50 women in the past six years.'

He was reported by the Evening Standard as telling another friend: 'I have always been a bit of a sucker for blondes. A girl can be many things, but if she's not beautiful then she's not for me. I am very choosy. It's like looking for a good horse.'

He first met the Princess of Wales in 1987 at a society party. She asked him to teach her to ride - she had earlier lost her nerve. Their friendship grew and they allegedly became romantically entwined. In the 'squidgy tapes', the princess, referring to him, said: 'Entirely dressed him from head to foot, that man. Cost me quite a bit.'

During the Gulf war they kept in close contact and, according to some newspapers yesterday, extracts of their letters form the core of the book. He was alleged to have produced some of the letters during his meetings with the News of the World, but concealed details.

In yesterday's News of the World, Major Hewitt is quoted as saying the princess often stayed with him secretly in Devon and he would see her at Kensington Palace while the Prince of Wales was away.

He claimed to have visited her at Highgrove. 'I was madly in love with her and helped her in so many ways,' he is reported as saying. 'I advised her on what clothes she should wear, how to deal with the press and even helped her practise her public speaking.'

Yesterday's revelations are not the first he has made regarding the Princess of Wales. He made a string of insinuations in February and sold a story to Express Newspapers for pounds 100,000.

He is said to no longer have money or property, and lives with his mother or stays with friends in London. He invested money from the sale of previous newspaper interviews in an unsuccessful golf range.

If the allegations are true Mr Hewitt may face the death penalty for treason. By statute a person is guilty if they violate 'the wife of the sovereign's eldest son and heir'.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power