Prince Harry claims King Charles joked about possibility he wasn’t his ‘real father’ in new book

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Prince Harry has claimed in his new book that his father King Charles III made a “poor taste” joke about his paternity after meeting a mentally ill individual who believed he was the real Prince of Wales.

The Duke of Sussex reflects on the incident, and his father’s passion for telling “anecdotes,” in his new memoir Spare, according to the DailyMail, which obtained a copy of the book ahead of its release. The highly anticipated memoir will be released on 10 January.

Harry reportedly claims in the book that his father especially liked to tell a story about his visit to a mental asylum where he met a mentally ill man who claimed he was the Prince of Wales.

The memoir sees Harry recalling his father’s telling of the encounter. Harry claims that the King allegedly “wagged his finger at the patient” and told him: “Let’s see, you can’t be the Prince of Wales, I am the Prince of Wales.” In response to the then-Prince of Wales’ clarification, Harry says the man responded to Charles “with the same gesture”.

The duke noted that his father, who often became “philosophical” towards the conclusions of his anecdotes, then acknowledged that no one could be sure they weren’t “living in a fantasy” before joking about the possibility he wasn’t Harry’s “real father”.

“Who knows if I’m even your real father? Perhaps your father really is in Broadmoor, my dear son!” Harry recalls his father saying. The excerpt reportedly sees the duke describe the joke as “in poor taste,” as he noted it was made at the same time a rumour was circulating that his real father was Major James Hewitt.

“He’d laugh and laugh, though it was a remarkably unfunny joke, given the rumour circulating just then that my actual father was one of Mummy’s former lovers: Major James Hewitt,” Harry writes, according to Page Six. “One cause of this rumour was Major Hewitt’s flaming ginger hair, but another cause was sadism.”

Hewitt, a former cavalry officer in the British Army, famously had an affair with Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, in the mid-nineties. Hewitt became Diana’s riding instructor after meeting at a party, with the pair later becoming romantically involved. According to Hewitt’s book Princess In Love, the affair lasted five years, from 1986 to 1991, and took place while Diana was still married to Charles. Diana and Charles were married in 1981, with Diana giving birth to Prince William in 1982 and Harry in 1984. She and Charles officially divorced in 1986.

The rumour that Charles was not Harry’s biological father gained traction due to resemblances between Harry and Hewitt, as both men have red hair and similar facial features.

However, as noted by Harry in his new memoir, the rumour about his paternity persisted despite the fact that Diana “hadn’t met Major Hewitt until long after I was born”.

Hewitt himself has denied any possibility that he is Harry’s father, as he too has pointed out that he met Diana two years after she’d given birth to her second child.

He reiterated the denial in 2002 while speaking to the Sunday Mirror, when he said there is “really no possibility whatsoever that I am Harry’s father”.

“I can absolutely assure you that I am not,” Hewitt said, adding that Harry was “already a toddler” when he met Diana.

As for whether his father ever addressed Major Hewitt, the Duke of Sussex reportedly writes that, if there was anything Charles thought about Diana’s former riding instructor, he “kept it to himself”.

Harry’s memoir includes a number of other bombshell allegations, including the duke’s claim that his older brother Prince William once physically attacked him.

The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace and a representative for the Duke of Sussex for comment.