PRINCE Harry’s close bond with Princess Diana’s former lover James Hewitt has been exposed in a new royal biography.
Cavalry officer Hewitt, 60, had an affair with Princess Diana during her doomed marriage to Charles.
For years he has been forced to deny rumours he is Prince Harry’s dad as royal fans point out alleged similarities between the duo.
The pair are said to have formed a close relationship when the prince was young, according to a new biography.
Harry is said to have taken to “Hewitt straight away” and fondly called him “Uncle James”, Express.co.uk reports.
In “Harry Conversations with the Prince”, journalist Angela Levin writes: “The soldier-mad toddler was fascinated by everything to do with the army, so it’s no surprise he took to Hewitt straight away.
“He wore a military uniform, rode horses and made his mummy happy. Harry was always incredibly close to his mother and when Diana showed strong feelings for Hewitt he followed her example.
“Harry initially called him ‘mummy’s friend’ and subsequently the more intimate ‘Uncle’ James, a sobriquet Diana encouraged both boys to use for her subsequent lovers.”
Ms Levin even claims it was Hewitt who encouraged Harry to join the army – where he went on to serve for 10 years, including two tours of Afghanistan.
Ms Levin added: “Harry was engrossed by Hewitt’s military stories and thrilled when he arrived at Kensington Palace, and he and William were allowed to come downstairs after their bath and spend time with him.
“Hewitt encouraged Harry’s affection and had a miniature Household Cavalry uniform made especially for him. Harry adored it and wore it nearly to threads.
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“Hewitt also took him to visit Combermere Barracks in Windsor, home of Household Cavalry, and let him climb on a life-sized tank.
“Harry was in his element and announced excitedly: ‘I’m going to be a soldier when I grow up’.”
Hewitt romanced Diana back in 1986 – which was two years after Prince Harry, 33, was born.
The affair took place at the same time Charles is thought to have been cheating with his current wife Camila Parker-Bowles.
Despite the timelines not matching up, Harry has been dogged by the rumours that Hewitt is his dad.
Social media users were still peddling the conspiracy theory hours before the prince married Meghan Markle earlier this month.
During a television appearance in 2017, Hewitt was asked directly if he was Harry’s dad, to which he replied: “No, I’m not”.
And when asked why the rumours continue to persist, he said: “It sells papers.
“It’s worse for [Harry] probably, the poor chap.”
He added he didn’t regret falling in love with Diana, but said: “I regret some of the things that have been caused by that”.
Diana’s supporters – including her “rock” Paul Burrell and bodyguard Ken Wharfe – have also been quick to shoot down the theory.
Ex-policeman Wharfe said: “The malicious rumours that still persist about the paternity of Prince Harry used to anger Diana greatly.
“The nonsense should be scotched here and now.
“Harry was born on September 15, 1984.
“Diana did not meet James until the summer of 1986, and the red hair, gossips so love to cite as proof is, of course, a Spencer trait.”