Princess Diana's lover James Hewitt fights for his life: A look at his rise to fame

James Hewitt, the former lover of Princess Diana, has suffered a heart attack and stroke.

Princess Diana’s former lover James Hewitt has suffered a heart attack and a stroke (PA)

According to the Daily Mirror, a family member has said that James is “getting better”.

“He’s alright, he’s had a rough night but he’s getting better from what we know. He was a very fit man in his youth so we’re all sure he’ll pull through.”

But just who is the former English army officer-turned-reality TV star, who has never been married and once said he wanted to kill himself after Diana’s death?

A man who was accused of breaking the princess’s heart and turning their affair into a business?

The 59-year-old former lover of Princess Diana was born in Derry, and served as a English household cavalry officer in the British Army from 1978 to 1994.

(REX)

He released his autobiography ‘Love and War’ in 1999 but just four years earlier, he was fairly unknown in the public sphere.

His life would never be the same again after a video emerged showing Diana cavorting with James in 1995 and Diana confessed to a BBC Panorama programme that she and the former Life Guards officer had an affair.

The Princess of Wales and Prince Charles – who separated in 1992 – went on to divorce in 1996 and Diana continued making her public appearances with a smile and determination, no doubt feeling defiant in the knowledge that her husband, the Prince of Wales, had also been accused of having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

Library filers dated 6.10.94, of Camilla Parker Bowles – alleged to have had an affair with the Prince of Wales – and 15.7.92 of Major James Hewitt – whom the Princess of Wales admitted to having an affair with. The Queen has ordered the Prince and Princess of Wales to seek a divorce.

But the public’s fascination with James never waned and he hogged headlines after he revealed details of the affair and it emerged that he had been Diana’s secret lover for five years.

And what was to be thrown at them next would damage the reputation of the Royal family more than any news coverage of an affair, if it had turned out to be true.

False allegations soon emerged in the media that Diana’s second child Prince Harry was actually James’ son, and Harry has been dogged with comparrisons to James ever since.

Wearing Catherine Walker at a 1987 gala (PA)

Diana’s lover has often been forced to deny paternity, and when speaking on Australian TV recently, he was asked if he was Harry’s biological father, to which he replied: “No I’m not”.

He added: “It’s worse for him, probably, poor chap.”

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror 15 years ago, he also said that Prince Harry was “already walking” by the time his relationship with Diana began.

Princes William and Harry with their mother Diana in 1994. (Rex)

He said at the time: “Admittedly the red hair is similar to mine and people say we look alike. I have never encouraged these comparisons and although I was with Diana for a long time I must state once and for all that I’m not Harry’s father.”

James previously revealed that he considered suicide after his affair with Diana ended.

He said: “I got in my car and loaded a few things up to get on the ferry to go to France — to shoot myself.

“And then my mother insisted on coming with me. And, if she hadn’t, I would have probably shot myself. So I owe her my life.”

James Hewitt with former Coronation Street star Nikki Sanderson (left) and Amanda Mealing at the Maxim King Of Poker in 2005 (PA)

Within years of Diana’s heartbreaking death, James lived the life of a celebrity and in 2003, he was runner-up in Channel 4’s ‘The Games’ and then won ‘Back to Reality’ cementing his status as a household name.

In 2004, he was arrested with cocaine outside a restaurant in Fulham, West London, but was released with a warning.

He opened a restaurant in Marbella, Spain, in 2009, and returned to Britain in 2013.

His agent Teresa Quinlan says she has been unable to contact him since he entered the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and was unaware of his illness until a newspaper contacted her yesterday.

James Hewitt was last seen at horse trials in Devon two weeks ago. (FlameFlyNet)

“The last time I had communication with him was by text message two weeks ago and at that point he said he was not feeling well and was in bed with a bug. I’ve tried to get hold of him a couple of times over the last couple of weeks and I haven’t been able to and the first I heard of this was when a newspaper contacted me yesterday.

“His mobile phone has been off and I’ve tried him a couple of times. I am quite concerned about him because, as I say, the last time I was in contact with him he was just in bed with a bug. I am just hoping that he makes contact with me when he puts his phone back on,” she told The Telegraph.

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