Who is James Hewitt, is he married and does he have children? Princess Diana's alleged lover in The Crown

All about Diana and the former army officer's relationship

The Crown Season 5: Who is James Hewitt, Princess Diana's alleged lover?
(Image credit: Getty/Netflix)

The Crown viewers are desperate to know all about Princess Diana's alleged ex-lover, James Hewitt, as the late royal is shown speaking about her marital troubles with the then Prince Charles in the Netflix series' fifth season. 

Ever since The Crown Season 5 dropped on November 9, viewers have been itching to know more about the secondary characters making up The Crown season 5 cast in the hit Netflix royal series. From Prince Philip's friend Penny Knatchbull to Princess Diana's boyfriend Hasnat Khan - and even Dodi Fayed's girlfriend before Diana - there's been no shortage of exciting personalities introduced to the storylines this season.

Hovering in the background is a certain James Hewitt, who himself had a connection with the late Princess Diana. She opened up on Hewitt and their affair in the now iconic Princess Diana Panorama interview, and we've shared everything you need to know about him, plus whether he ever married or had children.

Who is James Hewitt? 

James Hewitt is an ex-British Cavalry Officer who rose to the media's attention in the 1990s, after he revealed that he had been romantically linked to Princess Diana during her marriage to Prince Charles. 

The Northern Irish lieutenant first met Diana when he was hired as her riding instructor, but it remains unclear when exactly this initial encounter took place.

James Hewitt

(Image credit: Getty)

The princess, who confirmed their affair in her 1995 Panorama interview, has insisted that they met in 1986. Hewitt, however, has said the pair were introduced at a polo match in 1981, before Diana's wedding to Prince Charles. It's been speculated that Diana and James engaged in an affair that lasted anywhere from five to nine years. 

According to Tina Brown's 2007 biography, The Diana Chronicles, it was the princess who made the first move on Hewitt. "She made the first overture by reaching to kiss him when they were alone in the Officers' Mess, telling him, 'I need you. You give me strength. I can't stand it when I'm not with you,'" the English journalist wrote. "From beginning to end, it was Diana who ran this affair."

After the relationship ended, Hewitt revealed that he had considered suicide:

"I got in my car and loaded a few things up to get on the ferry to go to France – to shoot myself," he said during a 2011 interview with the US entertainment show, Inside Edition. "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 really." 

In 1994, Hewitt collaborated with Anna Pasternak on her book, Princess in Love.  Speaking about her ex-lover's involvement in the bestseller during her Panorama interview, Diana said, "Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down." 

The Crown

(Image credit: Getty)

Is James Hewitt married? 

It's understood that James Hewitt, 64, never married. He is reportedly single and lives with his elderly mother, Shirley Stamp, in Devon. 

He previously resided in Marbella, where he ran a bar called the Polo House. It closed, however, in 2013, after just four years in business. In 2017, it was reported that he was hospitalized after suffering from a heart attack. He has since recovered and is now believed to working as a gardener.

Does James Hewitt have children? 

It's understood that James Hewitt does not have children. It's possible that the retired army officer does have nephews and/or nieces, however. Hewitt has an older sister named Syra and a twin sister named Caroline, both of whom lead relatively private lives. 

Who plays James Hewitt in The Crown?

James Hewitt, Princess Diana's former lover, is played by Daniel Donskoy in The Crown Season 4, but it looks like he hasn't reprised his role in the latest season. 

His relationship with Diana has still managed to pique the interest of viewers, however. In Episode 2 of The Crown Season 5, The System, Diana is shown at Buckingham Palace recording audio for Andrew Morton's 1992 biography, Diana - In Her Own Words. It was during these interviews that Diana first spoke publicly about Prince Charles's affair with Camilla, as well her own extramarital relationships. 

Daniel Donskoy is a Moscow-born actor and producer who is known for his roles in Barbarians (2020), Crescendo (2019) and Victoria (2016).

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Emma Dooney
News and lifestyle writer

Emma is a Lifestyle News Writer for Goodto. Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, she mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.