UK

Duchess of Cornwall 'devastated' at brother Mark Shand's death

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Media captionDan Bucknell: "Today should have been one of celebration, so we were all incredibly shocked"

The Duchess of Cornwall has been left "devastated" by news of her brother's death, Clarence House has said.

Mark Shand, 62, died from a head injury after a fall in New York on Tuesday.

A royal spokesman said the "sudden and tragic loss" of the conservationist and campaigner was felt by Camilla and her husband, the Prince of Wales.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, currently touring Australia and New Zealand, were "saddened" to hear of Mr Shand's death, Kensington Palace said.

"Their thoughts are with the Duchess of Cornwall and her family at this time," the Cambridges' statement added.

The death comes as Prince Charles and Camilla, currently understood to be in Scotland, prepare for a high-profile tour of Canada next month.

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Image caption Mr Shand, pictured here with his sister the Duchess of Cornwall, reportedly slipped and hit his head
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Image caption The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently on a tour of Australia and New Zealand

Mr Shand had been in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's, held in aid of underprivileged children and the Elephant Family - a charity of which he was chairman.

Dan Bucknell, head of conservation and campaigns at the Elephant Family, which protects the endangered Asian elephant, said Mr Shand had "infectious enthusiasm" and was the "lifeblood" of the organisation.

"He was a very fun-loving, warm-hearted, generous guy," he said.

He said people at the Elephant Family were "still coming to terms" with Mr Shand's death, and said it was vital that "we do him proud" and "take the charity on to greater heights in his name".

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Image caption Mark Shand married Clio Goldsmith in 1990, with whom he had a daughter, Ayesha

Mr Shand, the duchess's only brother, slipped and fell backwards while lighting a cigarette and hit his head, the New York Police Department (NYPD) said.

He was reportedly at an after-party following the charity event, and the NYPD said officers found him lying on the ground.

Emergency services picked him up where he fell outside the Rose Bar in the Gramercy Park Hotel and took him to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday.

Love of elephants

The event, which was the finale of the month-long Big Egg Hunt NYC by Faberge, raised $1.6m (£950,000).

Mr Shand, who featured in documentaries about elephants and India, had written numerous books.

His book Queen of the Elephants won the Prix Litteraire d'Amis and was made into a BBC documentary.

As a teenager, he was expelled from Milton Abbey School in Dorset for smoking cannabis.

His father, Major Bruce Shand, sent him to Australia following his expulsion. On his way, he stopped off in India, which is where his love of elephants first took hold.

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