Princess Diana’s lover James Hewitt, 64, drives across Ukraine to rescue civilians left homeless by Russian artillery
James Hewitt (pictured) is driving thousands of miles across war-torn Ukraine to rescue innocent civilians left homeless by Vladimir Putin’s invasion, it has been revealed. The former lover of Princess Diana, 64, has already carried out one mission for Help4Ukraine, and will be returning to the country again before Christmas.
The organization was established by writer and campaigner Lord Monson, 67, to supply ambulances and aid and bring those in need to safety. He told the Daily Mail: ‘James Hewitt is not in this for personal glory, he’s doing good work for the cause and will be on another run before Christmas.’
Mr Hewitt, who teamed up with former Coldstream Guards officer Mikey Stewart-Richardson before throwing his lot in with Help4Ukraine, is fully aware of the challenges ahead. In his first public statement about the cause, he explains that each mission begins at Lviv, near the border with Poland in the far west of the country.
From there, the convoy — ‘four vehicles: two drivers in each’ — loads up with ‘hospital beds and essential medical equipment,’ before embarking on a gruelling drive eastwards. ‘We covered 2,500 miles in three days,’ he said of his last mission, when the convoy came within six miles of the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia, which remains in Russian hands. Mr Hewitt, a former Household Calvary officer, said they took on board ’36 refugees — [and] a cat and a dog.’
Among them was a teacher, Irene, who, for more than a month, ‘had been living underground, with no fresh water, no electricity, no heating, no gas for cooking, no clean clothes. Her apartment had been destroyed.’ He added: ‘She was smart, polite and enormously grateful that she could finally experience freedom.’ Hewitt aims to be back for Christmas, Lord Monson said, adding: ‘He’s got to look after his mum.’ It comes after Hewitt set up a not-for-profit to help vulnerable people escape from war-torn Ukraine earlier this year, alongside the son of a decorated British commander who founded a similar fund in Afghanistan.
Mr Hewitt has helped set up HOP, Humanitarian Online Payments, an organization which travels into the heart of Ukraine from the UK, bringing a convoy of Ukrainians made up of up to nine vehicles out of the warzone. He co-founded the foundation with Eton-alumnus Mikey Stewart Richardson, son of the late Brigadier Peter Stewart-Richardson, who founded the Afghan Mother and Child Rescue in the early 1990s.
Mr Hewitt had a five-year affair with Princess Diana when he was a young Household Cavalry officer, from 1986 to 1991. This was confirmed by the Princess of Wales during the now-infamous Panorama interview with disgraced journalist Martin Bashir. In recent years Mr Hewitt has suffered both a heart attack and a stroke — but this has not stopped him rescuing beleaguered Ukrainians and taking them to safety. On their website, Mr Hewitt and Mr Stewart-Richardson described the operation as a ‘not-for-profit’ that takes Ukrainian families to safe locations in the UK or EU. ‘We visit all parts of Ukraine, including the areas close to the front line, to find, help and assist in collecting the young, old and infirm Ukrainians who wish to flee Putin.’
The pair added: ‘It’s essential work and we’re humbled to play a small part in the incredible story of the charity, Operation SafeDrop.’ They partnered with Operation SafeDrop to assist in evacuations, a charity which has been operating in Poland and Ukraine since March. Leaving the Army in 1994, Mr Hewitt sparked controversy after collaborating with Anna Pasternak, author of Princess In Love, reputedly being paid £300,000 ($364,011) for sharing details of their affair. Less than a decade later, he said he was willing to sell Diana’s letters, hoping to raise £10 million ($12 million). But accusations of betraying Diana followed and the letters remain unsold. Last year the Daily Mail revealed that Mr Hewitt was living with his mother in her two-bedroom flat in Devon.
Want more stories like this from the Daily Mail? Visit our profile page here and hit the follow button above for more of the news you need.