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PRINCESS DI REGULARLY VISITED LOVER

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Princess Diana washed the dishes and even helped clean out a cupboard at the home of her former lover, cavalry officer James Hewitt, his mother told a magazine Tuesday.

In an interview with Hello! magazine for which she was reportedly paid $62,000, Shirley Hewitt told how she became concerned when Diana's visits to her home in southwest England became regular."I gradually came to understand that over time the friendship evolved into a relationship . . . I just thought that nothing could ever come of it. I imagine that was what he thought, too," she said.

Hewitt told how "normal and charming, natural and sweet" the then wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles was in her home. "She seemed comfortable in our company and probably enjoyed the normality of being here."

Hewitt said she made Diana chocolate cake, and the princess was very helpful.

"She would always help carry the things out after lunch. She would wash up the dishes and on one occasion helped clear out a cupboard . . . She said, `What is all this? It's disgusting!' and cleared the whole lot out and gave the cupboard a good wash!"

Diana, 35, and Charles, 47, will be formally divorced on Aug. 28.

In an television interview last November, Diana stunned viewers when she bluntly said of Hewitt: "I adored him, I was in love with him."