Who Is Prince Harry's Real Father?

Photo: Getty
Prince Harry

When Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex, she became many an American's favorite member of the British Royal Family. And of course, Prince Harry, still the Duke of Sussex after the couple's move to this side of the pond, is a close second, especially after learning of all the ways the two have supported each other during these challenging years and their decision to break free as a team.

While Prince Harry has been stripped of his patronages and military titles, he remains sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, followed by little Archie at number seven. But what if ... he isn't biologically royal at all?

Who is Prince Harry's real father?

For years, there have been rumors that Prince Harry's father is not Prince Charles, based on claims that Princess Diana had multiple affairs during their marriage.

So even though he shares the Prince of Wales' last name, having been christened Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor upon his birth in 1984, could another, non-royal man be Harry's real dad?

The most popular theory is that Harry's real father is Princess Diana's one-time riding instructor, James Hewitt. Others speculate he may be the son of her former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, or perhaps of a Welsh Guards Officer named Mark Dyer.

Read on to learn more about the scandal and mystery, including why one man seems the most likely to be Prince Harry's real father.

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Prince Harry's parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, were known to be unhappily wed.

Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in a lavish ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral on July 29, 1981. While many assumed that it was a love match, in fact, Diana was selected because of her noble birth and because she was 19 years old with no history of boyfriends or scandals behind her.

She quickly found out that Charles was really in love with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his wife and the Duchess of Cornwall, and had been for many years.

He famously carried on an affair with Bowles during his marriage to Diana. He eventually married her, though it was years after both his divorce from Diana and her tragic death.

Diana, aka "the People's Princess", spent a good deal of time apart from Charles.

During her marriage to Charles, Diana was active in many charitable causes. She was part of the movement to ban landmines, she supported ending homelessness in the UK, and she championed many children's charities.

Most famously, she was an early advocate for people with AIDS and HIV. Photographs of her making direct contact with people known to be HIV-positive changed the public perception that HIV was contagious via casual contact and helped combat the stigma and isolation that came with and an HIV diagnosis.

Much of her work kept her traveling, often without Charles.

While Charles was carrying on with Camilla behind Diana's back, Diana is believed to have sought affection elsewhere, engaging in affairs of her own.

She was rumored to be interested in one of her bodyguards as early as 1985, and he was dismissed shortly after the rumors began.

Intimate conversations between Diana and a car salesman were leaked to the press in the early 90s.

And she was linked to a billionaire art dealer before finally divorcing Charles in 1996.

Diana's most widely known romance was with James Hewitt, her riding instructor — a man who happened to have a mane of red hair just like Harry's.

Perhaps Princess Diana's most significant affair was with her riding instructor, James Hewitt.

She confessed to their liaison in 1995, and Hewitt has confirmed the story saying, "It was never her intention to fall in love with me and it was certainly not my intention to fall in love with Diana but it happened because of the circumstances throwing us together [...] It's very difficult to say how physical she wanted the relationship to become. And I'm not going to suggest one way or the other whose fault it was. It developed and it was mutual."

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The pair knew all along that there was no hope for a future together.

Hewitt says, "Although neither of us said anything I think both of us realized the situation was impossible. It was more and more obvious to me that she wanted to finish the relationship. It just fizzled out."

Prince Harry is thought by many to bear a picture-perfect resemblance to Hewitt.

In later years, people have wondered if Hewitt was actually Harry's biological father.

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In addition to their mutual admission of a long affair, there is a distinct physical resemblance between the riding instructor and the young prince. They both have ginger-colored hair and a strong jawline, one that is distinctly unlike Charles' famously weak chin.

The timing of Diana's affair with Hewitt, however, makes a blood connection between the two highly unlikely.

As tantalizing as the rumor about Hewitt and Harry is, it's likely impossible for it to be true.

Hewitt denies it all, saying, "There really is no possibility whatsoever that I am Harry's father. I can absolutely assure you that I am not. Admittedly the red hair is similar to mine and people say we look alike. I have never encouraged these comparisons and although I was with Diana for a long time I must state once and for all that I'm not Harry's father."

How does he know for sure?

"When I met Diana," Hewitt says, "[Prince Harry] was already a toddler."

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Diana's former bodyguard Ken Wharfe also shoots down this rumor in his book "Diana: Closely Guarded Secret."

"Harry was born on 15 September 1984," he writes. "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."

In an attempt to sell magazines in the lead up to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the National Enquirer published a baseless allegation that Harry's real father was a Welsh Guards Officer named Mark Dyer.

The gossip rag offered no evidence beyond Dyer's red hair, and the Royal Family didn't bother responding to the allegation.

Despite both the rumors and true stories about his lonely mother's search for love outside her marriage, it is largely indisputable that Prince Charles is Harry's father.

Though one popular TikTok making the rounds claims Harry couldn't be the son of Charles and Diana because red hair is a genetic trait and neither Charles nor Diana themselves were redheads. That is a simple misunderstanding of how recessive genes work. A person doesn't have to have red hair themselves in order to carry the gene and pass it on to their children.

Diana's family , the Spencers, has its fair share of redheads, including her brother and one sister. And Charles' great grandmother, Queen Mary of Teck, was also known for her red hair.

Photo: William Llewellyn, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

And once you get past that eye-catching hair and hone in on the bone structure, you can see who It is Harry truly resembles most...

His still-beloved grandfather, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Photo: Cecil Beaton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe now we can all take a hint from Harry and Meghan and leave those rumors behind us.

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook, and The Broad Side, as well as on her blog, Stay at Home Pundit.