Camilla and Charles ‘utterly devastated’ as Duchess’s brother Mark Shand, 62, dies after slipping and smashing his head

Camilla and Charles ‘utterly devastated’ as Duchess’s brother Mark Shand, 62, dies after slipping and smashing his head when he left £1million fundraiser in New York for his elephant charity

The Duchess of Cornwall was left ‘utterly devastated’ last night by the death of her younger brother in New York.

Mark Shand, 62, suffered a head injury when he slipped and fell on the pavement on a night out in Manhattan. He was put on life support but doctors could not save him and he died 12 hours later.

Camilla, 66, was extremely close to her only brother, who was known for his swashbuckling travel books and passionate commitment to conservation.

A source close to her said: ‘The Duchess is up at Birkhall [her and Charles’s Scottish retreat] with the Prince at the moment and to say that she is devastated is an understatement. They are a very close family and even if they didn’t see each other every week – as was often the case with Mark – were in constant contact.

‘It is just the most tragic of accidents. No one can quite believe it has happened. He was always such a vital man, so full of life.’

Mr Shand had travelled to New York to host a Sotheby’s auction of egg sculptures decorated by leading artists in aid of his Elephant Family charity and underprivileged children.

The event, which raised nearly £1million, was attended by Princess Eugenie. Mr Shand then attended an after-party at the exclusive Diamond Horseshoe club off Times Square, which features burlesque and vaudeville-style acts.

A fellow guest said he appeared to be ‘on top of the world’ after the successful fundraiser. Mr Shand had left the venue and was apparently on his way to bed at 3am when he tripped while trying to light a cigarette and hit his head outside the Rose Bar of the Gramercy Park Hotel.

He was taken to the nearby Bellevue Hospital and put on a life support machine, but died at about 5pm UK time.

Mr Shand’s older sister the Duchess of Cornwall was said to be ‘utterly devastated’ by his death.

A Clarence House spokesman said: ‘It is with deep sadness that we have to confirm that The Duchess of Cornwall’s brother, Mark Shand, has today passed away.’

‘Mr Shand died in hospital as a result of a serious head injury which he sustained during a fall last night. 

‘The Duchess, The Prince of Wales and all her family members are utterly devastated by this sudden and tragic loss. 

‘Mark Shand was a man of extraordinary vitality, a tireless campaigner and conservationist whose incredible work through the Elephant Family and beyond remained his focus right up until his death.’

Travel writer and auctioneer Mr Shand had set up charity Elephant Family in 2002 to help prevent the extinction of the endangered Asian elephant.

A spokesman for Elephant Family said: ‘Today we have lost the head of our family. Mark Shand was a true force for conservation.

‘He was both a legend and inspiration and above all our great friend. We ask at this time that people’s thoughts are with his loved ones. We will miss him always.’

hi-res images can be found on our website www.scopefeatures.com

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