James Hewitt: I am not Prince Harry's father

Princess Diana's former lover James Hewitt has emphatically denied that he is Prince Harry's father.

Addressing rumours that have persistently plagued the prince, Mr Hewitt said, "No I'm not" when asked if he was Harry's real father by Australia's Channel 7 on Sunday night.

Asked about the rumours, Mr Hewitt said: "It sells papers. It's worse for him, probably, poor chap."

Princess Diana started her affair with Mr Hewitt, who is now 58 and living as a recluse in Britain, after she asked him to be her horse riding instructor in 1986.

Their relationship blossomed amid rumours that her husband Prince Charles was seeing his former girlfriend Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Remembering when he fell in love with Diana, Mr Hewitt said he wanted to "whisk her away" from the spotlight.

"She had an aurora of something special around her," Mr Hewitt said.

The relationship lasted until after he had served as a tank commander in the 1991 Gulf War, when their affair was publicly exposed.

"I think she was quite easy to fall in love with really so I think I can be forgiven for that."

Diana's former butler Paul Burrell has said it was impossible for Mr Hewitt to be Harry's father as the future heir was already a toddler when the princess met Mr Hewitt.