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Ex-Beau Gets Princess Di’s Letters

February 3, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Former army officer James Hewitt on Wednesday won back dozens of love letters written by Princess Diana, which he says were stolen from his home.

Hewitt said the 64 letters written by the princess between December 1990 and June 1991 were taken by a girlfriend and ended up in the possession of Lawrence Graham, the London law firm acting for the late princess’s estate.

Hewitt, 40, began legal action in December against the firm.

``The proceedings initiated by the High Court writ have been satisfactorily concluded between the parties,″ Hewitt’s law firm Harkavys announced Wednesday. ``All 64 letters written by the late Princess Diana have today been returned to Mr. Hewitt.″

A spokesman for Lawrence Graham declined to comment.

Hewitt had said the letters, signed either in Diana’s own name or with a pseudonym, were taken from a safe in his home, then passed to a staff member at Kensington Palace, where the princess had made her home.

He said they then were passed to a police detective, and finally to the law firm. Hewitt’s lawsuit said the firm had not responded to his requests to return them.

Hewitt’s former fiance, model Anna Staiano Ferretti, was arrested in April after The Mirror newspaper said she tried to sell the letters to the tabloid for about $250,000. The Mirror handed the letters over to Diana’s private office at Kensington Palace, without publishing them.

Police later announced Ferretti would not be prosecuted. Had the case gone to trial, the letters could have become court exhibits.

After Hewitt cooperated in a 1994 book about the affair, called ``Princess in Love,″ Diana acknowledged the relationship and said he had let her down. The affair began when he gave her riding lessons, and the two are believed to have exchanged many letters, handwritten on blue airmail paper, when he served as a tank commander in the Persian Gulf War.

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