Late British royal DIANA, Princess Of Wales' lover JAMES HEWITT was so desperate to cover-up their illicit affair he sought advice from a public relations guru, according to a new book.

Diana met Hewitt at a polo match shortly before her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 and they quickly became firm friends - but soon after her honeymoon, Diana reportedly realised her husband did not love her.

Hewitt quickly became a close confidant of the princess, and in 1984 they started an affair which left the British Army officer terrified they would be discovered by the UK's press.

So Hewitt turned to publicist Max Clifford for advice.

Clifford writes in his new book READ ALL ABOUT IT: "He (Hewitt) was absolutely certain at that time that he didn't want anything to come out and I agreed to help him.

"I told him to keep quiet and not to say anything to anyone. I explained that in these situations the papers might speculate but that there were only two people whose word would be taken as cast-iron evidence; his and the woman he was involved with.

"If they didn't provide that evidence then their relationship could never be absolutely confirmed."

Clifford says Hewitt and Diana followed his sage advice, and their romantic involvement had not been confirmed by the media by the time they split up in 1992 - a decision by Diana which he says left Hewitt heartbroken.

Clifford continues, "The relationship ended abruptly when she refused to take his calls. He was hurt and upset, particularly as she didn't explain what he had done wrong. He said it was a small comfort to know she wasn't the first friend she had dropped like a stone.

"He admitted he drowned his sorrows in drink and that he never really got over it."

Hewitt later ignored Clifford's advice and sold his story to British newspapers and published the book PRINCESS IN LOVE in 1994. Diana admitted to the affair during a 1995 British television interview with controversial journalist Martin Bashir.