There's no denying Prince Harry's resemblance to his mother's lover Maj. James Hewitt. In the new and revealing book "After Diana," excerpted here, best-selling biographer Christopher Andersen shows how troubled Harry is by the question of his parentage. Prince Charles' halfhearted fathering caused problems, too. Even golden Prince William has been affected, from time to time showing his dark side.
It was just after 1 a.m. on Feb. 10, 2004, at Boujis, the smart South Kensington club owned by the young princes' former aide and longtime friend Capt. Mark (Marco) Dyer of the Welsh Guards. Downstairs in the VIP section, Harry sat in a booth, downing his fifth cranberry-flavored vodka. Nestled beside him was 23-year-old Camilla Simon, lithesome blond daughter of Monsoon fashion mogul Peter Simon and his ex-wife Kate. For two years, Kate Simon had had a steamy relationship with Diana's former lover James Hewitt and reportedly bankrolled his lavish lifestyle to the tune of $800,000.
Simon and Hewitt had split a year earlier, but Harry was nonetheless curious about the riding instructor who stole his mother's heart and then betrayed her with a tell-all book. Over the course of the evening, said one member of their party, "Harry asked Camilla what she thought about Hewitt, how he treated her mother and her, if she knew what he was up to now."
At one point, an increasingly soused Harry blurted out that all the rumors about Hewitt being his biological father were "total s-." Still, said a friend of Simon's, it "seemed obvious he had his doubts - or why would he bring it up when no one else did, and why would he become so angry? No one else takes it seriously. Why does Prince Harry?"
Shortly after 2:30 a.m., Harry's royal protection guards helped him up the stairs of the club, out the front door and into a waiting car. Camilla Simon, who seemed more subdued after speaking with Harry, stayed another hour before leaving. "They have a rather special bond," said her friend. "Both of their mothers fell for Hewitt. Quite a sad little club they belong to ..."
CHARLES THE FATHER
Now that Harry was turning 20, Charles and Camilla - neither of whom had ever shown Diana's natural knack for hands-on parenting - left the young prince to his own devices as he waited to enter [Royal Military Academy] Sandhurst. It was a kind of parental neglect that Harry had suffered from ever since he was 13.
"He was at a particularly vulnerable age when Diana died," said her old friend Vivienne Parry. Agreed a Highgrove neighbor, "When Harry went through all those teenage growing pains, hormones raging and the pressure of exams, that's when they need their folks around. During that period boundaries are set. I just don't think that happened for Harry."
What was the explanation for Charles' reluctance to take an active role in guiding his sons? One longtime friend of the Windsors believed that Charles simply does not "know how to get involved. So much of his life is done by other people."
As he has so often since their mother's death, William stepped into the breach, checking on his brother every day by phone or e-mail.
Immediately after the Royal Family's annual Christmas gathering at Sandringham, Charles and Camilla had rushed off to spend time alone at Balmoral, which, as usual, left Will and Harry to fend for themselves. The day before a costume party at the home of three-time Olympic gold medal-winning equestrian Richard Meade, the boy headed for a local "fancy dress shop." Forgoing his customary loincloth, William opted this time for a lion costume. Harry wasted no time selecting his: the short-sleeved khaki uniform of Nazi tank commander Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, complete with the eagle badge of the Wehrmacht on the chest and a swastika armband.
"You look terrific, Harry," William said at the shop, never expressing any doubts about his brother's costume choice. In fact, the elder prince took an active role in helping Harry pick it out.
At the party, one man asked the prince, who spent most of the evening with a vodka in one hand and a cigarette in the other, what made him choose his costume.
"I guess it's a uniform the Germans wore in Africa," Harry said with a shrug, "but that's all I know about it. Do you have any idea," he said, pointing to the huge swastika on his left arm, "what this is?"
The guest looked at the prince in disbelief. "It's a swastika," he replied. Harry, still clearly puzzled, shook his head. "You know," the guest continued in amazement, "Hitler ... the Nazis."
"It was fairly obvious," said a university student who overheard the exchange, "that Prince Harry did not have the slightest notion about swastikas or Nazis. Frankly, I'm not entirely certain he could have told you who Hitler was."
Meanwhile, Prince William seemed "just as clueless" about how offensive his brother's uniform was.
So clueless, in fact, that neither William nor Harry seemed bothered by the fact that snapshots of them were being taken at the party. The next morning, when the Sun ran a full-page photo of the prince in costume alongside the headline "Harry the Nazi," Harry still seemed unsure. "Was it that bad to wear a German uniform?" he asked a friend from Eton. "Are the Nazis really that terrible?"
WILLIAM HURTS TOO
At the party following his graduation from Sandhurst, Harry was determined not to repeat the mistakes of his past - at least not tonight. After years of being viewed as a "national disgrace," he was no longer Harry Pothead or Harry the Nazi. He was Second Lieutenant Wales, and while he was clearly enjoying the party, Harry was careful not to embarrass his family or superiors.
The same, sadly, could not be said for William. As the night progressed, the Heir became louder and steadily more obnoxious, lurching about the dance floor and then joining in when one of his fellow cadets started impersonating a general - a send-up that several senior officers found offensive. Wills screamed with laughter at the off-color stories of another pal, and by 2 a.m. he seemed so out of control that a senior officer ordered him to go home.
The next morning, a furious Commandant Andrew Ritchie phoned Prince Charles' offices at Clarence House to make it clear that William's crude behavior indicated that he was obviously neither an officer nor a gentleman.
If he was at all remorseful, William certainly did not let on. The future king, one of his Eton buddies observed, "can be a very moody guy. He starts breaking all the rules when he's feeling trapped."
Trapped by what? Sandhurst? [His then girlfriend] Kate Middleton and the prospect of marriage? The burden of monarchy? A life and a future over which he has no control.
"Yes," his friend replied.
Diana's love life, and Prince Harry's parentage, under the microscope