AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN?
Originally published May 1999
LONDON (AP) - Princess Diana's former lover James Hewitt is auctioning the newspaper rights to his memoirs weeks after winning a court action to retrieve dozens of her stolen love letters, The Sunday Telegraph reported. Hewitt, a former army officer, hoped to make around $800,000 from the memoir - but is barred from reproducing the 64 letters from the late princess, the newspaper said. In a TV interview in 1995, Diana acknowledged the affair with Hewitt, who had been her sons' riding instructor, and said she felt let down by him after his 1994 tell-all book. InfoBeat 26 April 1999
Having spent better than half my life in the military, I like to think the phrase "an officer and a gentleman" means something. It harkens back to the age of chivalry and the code of conduct that knights were expected to follow. And this is not simply a European concept. Historically, the warrior class in nearly every civilization had a code of conduct which continues to influence correct behaviour today. Perhaps such traits as courtesy, honour, discretion, politeness, and respect for others seem to some to be a little old fashioned in today's world, but they are still prerequisites to being a gentleman.
Now you can be a gentleman without being an officer; but all officers are expected - indeed required - to be gentlemen. (As an aside, that goes for all officers regardless of their sex. A female officer should act as a gentleman, not as a gentlewoman.) And for an officer to fail as a gentleman is to fail in his chosen profession.
If the above-quoted news item is accurate, James Hewitt has totally failed to meet this basic obligation of being a gentleman. It's not the issue of what acts he participated in with the late woman. Rather it's that he talked about it. It's that he has already profited by talking about it, and continues to do so. He shows no honour. He shows no respect for the other party in the claimed relationship. He shows no discretion. He is a disgrace to his former rank. He is a cad. He is a bounder. He is a member of that fraternity known as the scum of the earth. He is not someone that decent people should wish to know. He should be ashamed of himself. Perhaps if he had been a samurai, he would know the proper thing to do with respect to lost honour.
As exposed by the News of the World in late 2002, Hewitt is still demonstrating that he is the scum of the earth. Apparently he is now prepared to sell the correspondence he received from Diana. The slimy snake! But that insults snakes.