Prince Harry Slams ‘Damaging’ Rumors James Hewitt Is His Real Father During U.K. Court Testimony: ‘Mean and Cruel’

Prince Harry Addresses James Hewitt Rumors in Court Testimony
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Doing damage. Prince Harry called out the persistent rumors about Princess Diana's former flame James Hewitt being his real father during a recent court testimony.

The 38-year-old prince is suing Mirror Group Newspaper Limited for allegedly obtaining information about him via unethical practices — including phone hacking — through the years. In a written statement released on Tuesday, June 6, Harry addressed the ways in which being in the spotlight has impacted his mental health.

The U.K. native referred to a 2002 article titled "Plot to rob the DNA of Harry," which perpetuated the widespread speculation that King Charles III was not truly his dad. "At the time, when I was 18 years old and had lost my mother just six years earlier, stories such as this felt very damaging and very real to me," he wrote. "They were hurtful, mean and cruel."

Harry continued: "I was always left questioning the motives behind the stories. Were the newspapers keen to put doubt into the minds of the public so that I might be ousted from the Royal Family?"

The Duke of Sussex went on to allege that the author behind the article in question wasn't above using "unlawful information gathering techniques" to further a story.

"At the time of this article and others similar to it, I wasn't actually aware that my mother hadn't met Major Hewitt until after I was born," he claimed. "The timeline is something I only learnt of in around 2014, although I now understand this was common knowledge amongst the Defendants' journalists."

As London's High Court hears the case, the newspaper's publisher has denied any wrongdoing. However, an apology issued in May stated, "MGN unreservedly apologizes for all such instances of UIG, and assures the claimants that such conduct will never be repeated."

Speculation about Harry's parentage has run rampant for years. Hewitt, now 65, met Diana in 1986 — two years after Harry was born — when he began working as her riding instructor. During a 2017 interview with Australia's Sunday Night, Hewitt explicitly denied the rumors.

"It sells papers," he said. "It's worse for [Harry], probably, poor chap."

The Archewell cofounder, for his part, reflected on the public's curiosity in his debut memoir, Spare, claiming that even Charles, 74, got in on the jokes.

"Pa liked telling stories, and this was one of the best in his repertoire. He'd always end with a burst of philosophizing: If this mental patient could be so thoroughly convinced of his identity, no less than Pa, it raised some very Big Questions indeed," Harry wrote. "Who could say which of us was sane? Who could be sure they weren't the mental patient, hopelessly deluded, humored by friends and family? Who knows if I'm really the Prince of Wales? Who knows if I'm even your real father? Maybe your real father is in Broadmoor, darling boy!"

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Harry, meanwhile, found the teasing to be "remarkably unfunny." He added: "[The press] couldn't get enough of this 'joke,' for some reason. Maybe it made them feel better about their lives that a young prince's life was laughable."