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Who Is Prince Harry's Real Father?

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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 even after the couple's move to this side of the pond and the release of their highly anticipated Netflix docuseries, "Meghan and Harry", 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 during their 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

While Prince Harry has been stripped of his patronages and military titles, following the death of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and the crowning of his father as King William III, he is now fifth in the line of succession to the British throne, followed by little Archie at number six and Lilibet at number seven.

But what if ... Harry isn't biologically royal at all?

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

So even though he bears the King's last name, having been christened Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor upon his birth in 1984, could another, non-royal man be Harry's biological father?

Who is Prince Harry's real father?

While evidence suggests most strongly that King Charles III is, indeed, Prince Harry's real father, the most popular alternative theory is that Prince 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, Barry Mannakee, or perhaps of a Welsh Guards Officer named Mark Dyer.

RELATED: Why Meghan Markle And Prince Harry Left The Royal Family

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

As Prince Charles, the man who is now the King of England 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 between the then-Prince and Princess of Wales, in fact, Diana was selected for the position both because of her noble birth and because she was 19 years old with no history of boyfriends or scandals behind her.

Diana is said to have quickly found out that Charles was really in love with Camilla Parker Bowles, now his wife and queen consort, and had been for many years.

Charles famously carried on an affair with Bowles during his marriage to Diana, eventually marrying her 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.

Intimate conversations between Diana and James Gilbey, a car salesman and heir to the Gilbey gin fortune, were leaked to the press in an episode known as "Squidgygate" in the early 90s.

She was linked to billionaire art dealer Oliver Hoare before finally divorcing Charles in 1996.

And there were more ...

Some believe Prince Harry's real father could be her former bodyguard, Barry Mannakee

During an audio recording made in 1992, Diana told voice coach Peter Settelen that from 1984 to 1986 she was "deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment."

That someone is thought by many to be bodyguard Barry Mannakee, who was allegedly transferred from his position in 1986 after his superiors learned of their affair. Shortly thereafter, in 1987, Mannakee died in a motorcycle accident.

Speaking of Mannakee's death, Diana stated, "I think he was bumped off ... We'll never know."

RELATED: Man Claiming To Be King Charles & Camilla's Secret Love Child Reveals Possible DNA Breakthrough

Many believe Diana's riding instructor, James Hewitt, is Prince Harry's real father

But 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."

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.

So 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."

RELATED: How Meghan Markle Is Related To Prince Harry

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."

Others have said Prince Harry's real father might be a Welsh Guards Officer named Mark Dyer

In what many feel was merely an attempt to sell magazines leading up to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the National Enquirer published an article alleging Harry's real father is a Welsh Guards Officer named Mark Dyer.

The article offered no evidence beyond Dyer's red hair and a history of involvement in Harry's life. The Royal Family didn't bother responding to the allegation.

As with Hewitt, timing makes this theory highly unlikely. Dyer was just leaving school in 1984, the year in which Harry was born, and didn't join the Welsh Guard until 1986.

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

One popular TikTok that made the round last year 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 logic, however, is based on a misunderstanding of how recessive genes work.

A person doesn't have to have red hair themselves in order to carry the "redhead gene" and pass it on to their children.

Diana's family, the Spencers, has its fair share of redheads, including her brother, Charles Spencer, and sister, Sarah Spencer (now Lady Sarah McCorquodale).

And Charles' great grandmother, Queen Mary of Teck, pictured below, 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 bone structure, you can see who It is Harry truly resembles most...

His beloved grandfather, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away in 2021.

Photo: Cecil Beaton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe now we can all move on and leave those rumors behind us.

RELATED: Why Some People Believed Prince Harry But Not Meghan Markle

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.

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