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'Camilla's son Tom Parker Bowles and nephew fly to New York to collect Mark Shand's body'

  • Mary Powys has rushed to twin sister Ruth's side following the death of Mark Shand - her rumoured fiancee and the Duchess of Cornwall's brother
  • Camilla's son Tom Parker Bowles and his cousin Ben Elliot are understood to have arrived in New York to collect their uncle's body
  • Mr Shand, 62, was pictured with Ruth, 35, only hours before his death
  • Miss Powys is the CEO of his elephant charity and the two are said to have been dating for years
  • Her sister Mary is Head of Communications at the charity
  • Mr Shand died on Wednesday after hitting his head when he fell through a revolving door at the Gramercy Park Hotel's Rose Bar
  • He was reported to be taking medication for his blood pressure which caused him to suffer dizzy spells

By Sara Nathan and Lizzie Parry and Laura Collins

Published: 13:38 GMT, 24 April 2014 | Updated: 14:58 GMT, 24 April 2014

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The twin sister of Mark Shand's secret fiancee has flown to New York to comfort her devastated sibling after the 62-year-old died suddenly yesterday.

Mary Powys has rushed to sister Ruth's side after the conservationist fell through a revolving door at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, hitting his head.

Mr Shand, the brother of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was pronounced dead on arrival at Bellvue Hospital in the city at 5pm GMT.

The Duchess of Cornwall's son, Tom Parker Bowles, and her nephew Ben Elliot, have also flown to New York to collect their uncle's body, sources said today.

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Mary Powys (left) has flown to New York to comfort her twin sister Ruth, 36, (right), who is rumoured to have been Mark Shand's (centre) finacee. The 62-year-old died yesterday after falling through a revolving door and hitting his head on the pavement outside the Gramercy Park Hotel

Mary Powys (left) has flown to New York to comfort her twin sister Ruth, 36, (right), who is rumoured to have been Mark Shand's (centre) finacee. The 62-year-old died yesterday after falling through a revolving door and hitting his head on the pavement outside the Gramercy Park Hotel

The Duchess of Cornwall's brother was pronounced dead at the Bellvue Hospital in New York City yesterday

The Duchess of Cornwall's brother was pronounced dead at the Bellvue Hospital in New York City yesterday

It is understood conservationist Mr Shand fell through the revolving door at the Rose Bar, at the Gramercy Park Hotel (pictured), hitting his head as he fell. Some sources have suggested he could have hit his head on the nearby tree

It is understood conservationist Mr Shand fell through the revolving door at the Rose Bar, at the Gramercy Park Hotel (pictured), hitting his head as he fell. Some sources have suggested he could have hit his head on the nearby tree

NYPD officers were called at 2.50am local time and Mr Shand was rushed to the Bellvue Hospital in the city. Medics pronounced him dead on arrival.

The New York Post claimed Mr Shand had been drinking and was on blood pressure medication that sometimes gave him dizzy spells.

One source told the Post the 62-year-old 'had his hands in his pockets when he left the bar and fell, hitting his head', suggesting Mr Shand was unable to break his fall.

Sources have suggested Mr Shand could have fallen and hit his head on a tree, close to the entrance of the hotel.

The philanthropist and travel writer had hosted a glittering charity auction of giant Faberge eggs at Sotheby's on the evening of his death, raising a staggering $1million for his Elephant Family and a charity supporting underprivileged children in New York.

Just hours before his death yesterday Mr Shand was pictured standing close to the stunning blonde billed as his secret fiancee.

The 62-year-old brother of the Duchess of Cornwall was pictured hosting the Faberge Big Egg Hunt auction at Sothebys in New York on Tuesday night.

And the woman standing by his side with an equally proud look is Ruth Powys, 35, the CEO of his elephant charity, who Mr Shand is said to have been quietly dating for several years.

Indeed, according to the Daily Mail’s Richard Kay, the couple were said to have been ‘unofficially engaged’. 

Speaking at her home on the Wirral today, Miss Powys' mother Julie told MailOnline of her shock at receiving the news of Mr Shand's death from Ruth's twin sister Mary.

Tom Parker Bowles (left) and his cousin Ben Elliot (right) have flown to New York to collect the body of their uncle Mark Shand (centre). The 62-year-old brother of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall died suddenly yesterday after falling through a revolving door and hitting his head on the pavement

Tom Parker Bowles (left) and his cousin Ben Elliot (right) have flown to New York to collect the body of their uncle Mark Shand (centre). The 62-year-old brother of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall died suddenly yesterday after falling through a revolving door and hitting his head on the pavement

Mr Shand with his rumoured girlfriend, conservationist Ruth Powys, at the event which raised $1.6 million for charity, including The Elephant Family, hours before his sudden death

Mr Shand with his rumoured girlfriend, conservationist Ruth Powys, at the event which raised $1.6 million for charity, including The Elephant Family, hours before his sudden death

Mrs Powys, who lives with her husband Christopher in a large semi-detached house in Heswall, said: 'I found out because Mary called me, then I saw it on the news. It was quite a shock, but I haven't spoken to Ruth.

'Mary has flown out there to see Ruth as she is understandably upset.

'You just don't expect an accident like that to happen while you're just at work, and for it to be fatal.

'Ruth absolutely loves her job - I know she was enjoying it very much. It is just a terrible thing to happen, just dreadful.'

Miss Powys, who is understood to have moved to New York around six months ago, was not able to be reached today, 'given the circumstances', a spokesman for Elephant Family told MailOnline.

The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales were at their Scottish retreat Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate when they received the devastating news yesterday.

Heartfelt: Paying tribute before he left for New York, Mr Elliot tweeted this picture of his uncle Mr Shand, with his son. He wrote: RIP my hero and uncle Mark Shand. We loved him so much. What a life. Here he is with his great nephew, my son'

Heartfelt: Paying tribute before he left for New York, Mr Elliot tweeted this picture of his uncle Mr Shand, with his son. He wrote: RIP my hero and uncle Mark Shand. We loved him so much. What a life. Here he is with his great nephew, my son'

Mark Shand with Mary Powys (left) and sister Ruth, who is rumoured to have dated Mr Shand for years and was considered to be his fianceé

Mark Shand with Mary Powys (left) and sister Ruth, who is rumoured to have dated Mr Shand for years and was considered to be his fianceé

The Duchess of Cornwall is said to be 'utterly devastated' by the death of her only brother.

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.'

The 66-year-old Duchess is understood to be with Prince Charles at their retreat in Scotland, Birkhall.

'To say that she is devastated is an understatement', a source close to her said.

'They are a very close family and even if they didn't see each other every week - as was often the case with Mark - they 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.'

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge issued a statement this morning before embarking on a day of engagements in Canberra, the Australian capital.

It is understood the couple have sent a private message of condolence to Camilla, 66.

'The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were saddened to learn this morning of the tragic death of Mark Shand', it read.

'Their thoughts are with the Duchess of Cornwall and her family at this time.'

 
Despite earlier reports that Mr Shand was placed on a life-support machine, it has emerged the 62-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at Bellvue Hospital in New York at around 5pm GMT

Despite earlier reports that Mr Shand was placed on a life-support machine, it has emerged the 62-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival at Bellvue Hospital in New York at around 5pm GMT

Meanwhile Mr Shand's nephew Ben Elliot, the son of his sister Annabel Elliot, paid tribute on Twitter.

He wrote: 'RIP my hero and uncle Mark Shand. We loved him so much. What a life.'

In a second tweet, he added: 'Mark did so much for the plight of the Asian elephant. Elephants never forget. Nor will we.'

Staff at Anti-Slavery International were saddened by the news of their former patron Mark Shard's death.

Spokesman Jakub Sobik, speaking inside their Stockwell headquarters, said: 'Mark Shard was one of our patrons, so he helped us with very kindly support on a number of initiatives over the past number of years.

'Ruth Powys, his partner, used to be one of our trustees and has always supported us on a number of projects.

'Mark and Ruth both worked tirelessly with us to put on and organise several of our big street events, including street art exhibitions.

'All of us here are very saddened by the news of Mark's untimely death, and our thoughts are with Ruth at this difficult time.'

Miss Powys, the CEO of Mr Shand’s charity, Elephant Family, was brought up by missionaries.

Along with her twin sister, Mary - who is Head of Communications at Elephant Family - Ruth developed into an outspoken advocate for human rights among her peers and became particularly sensitive to issues affecting women.

This lead to her arrest in 1997 for organising a campaign against Virgin Cola’s sexually exploitative advertising.

She went on to read Early Modern History at the University of Essex where subjects such as slavery, genocide and gender history motivated her to pursue a career in the not-for-profit sector.

After graduating, Ruth studied at Birbeck University in London before joining Mr Shand at Elephant Family.

In 2004, Ruth joined forces with travel writer and adventurer Mr Shand, to establish their conservation charity.

On her website, it says: ‘Between Mark’s black book and Ruth’s creative ideas and energy she developed the charity from a team of one to what it is today; a £3m turnover conservation power house for the endangered Asian elephant.’

Mr Shand is survived by his 19-year-old daughter Ayesha Shand, from his marriage to Clio Goldsmith

Mr Shand is survived by his 19-year-old daughter Ayesha Shand, from his marriage to Clio Goldsmith

Tribute: Mr Shand's nephew Ben Elliot, the son of his sister Annabel Elliot, paid tribute to his uncle on Twitter

Tribute: Mr Shand's nephew Ben Elliot, the son of his sister Annabel Elliot, paid tribute to his uncle on Twitter

Ruth had been a constant presence with Mr Shand as they promoted the Big Egg Hunt over the past few weeks.

The couple were pictured together on Tuesday, April 15, alongside Mary Powys, in New York at a dinner in celebration of the Faberge event, and she even appeared on the Today show to garner more coverage.

Since parting with his wife Clio, the niece of the late tycoon Sir Jimmy Goldsmith, four years ago and with whom he has a daughter Ayesha, 19, Richard Kay said Mr Shand had been close to only Ruth.

And this is why he was so upset when he was linked to the Italian firecracker Nancy Dell’Olio, the former girlfriend of ex-England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson.

He described Nancy as a 'remarkable character', but said: 'Let me be clear, I have never had an affair with Nancy Dell’Olio.

'We have never dated. There is no romance; there has not been any romance, there never will be.'

He continued: 'I am more likely to have an affair with a ripe pomegranate! And I am very fond of pomegranates.'

He insisted their relationship was purely professional.

'I know Nancy through my charity work,' he said.

'We have met and talked, even had a cup of tea together.

'There have been some staggering stories written which are laughably untrue.'

Trauma: The New York Police Department said emergency services picked up Mr Shand outside the Rose Bar

Trauma: The New York Police Department said emergency services picked up Mr Shand outside the Rose Bar

Richard Kay added: ‘The fact that his relationship with Ruth was not on firmer footing had led inevitably to such gossip because Mark Shand was still seen as one of the capital’s great catches.’

A DEDICATED CONSERVATIONIST

In 2002 Mark Shand's concept for a charity dedicated to protecting endangered elephants became a reality.

The cause Elephant Family was born, with an aim to preserve the natural habitat of herds across Asia.

The charity has invested more than £6million to help save the animals, working to support local communities and reduce incidents of human and elephant conflict.

Through their work the charity has highlighted the plight of the Asian elephant, with UK-wide education programmes, publicity events, and lobbying governments and corporations to take action.

Asian elephants are among the world's most significant and threatened species.

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.

Mr Shand had traveled 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.

Connections: Mr Shand with Princess Eugenie at another Faberge Big Egg Hunt held earlier this month. She was believed to have been in attendance at last night's party
Mr Shand and Eugenie at a Big Egg Hunt cocktail party in January

Connections: Mr Shand with Princess Eugenie at another Faberge Big Egg Hunt held earlier this month (left) and in January (right). She was also in attendance at Tuesday's auction

Guest: Princess Eugenie, who is working at auction house Paddle 8 in New York, poses alongside an egg designed by British artist Tracey Emin at Tuesday's auction

Guest: Princess Eugenie, who is working at auction house Paddle 8 in New York, poses alongside an egg designed by British artist Tracey Emin at Tuesday's auction

DRUGS TO TREAT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE CAN CAUSE DIZZINESS

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common health issue facing older people.

There are five main classes of medicines that are prescribed by doctors to help lower blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
ACE inhibators reduce the amount of the chemical, angiotensin II, in the bloodstream. The chemical can narrow blood vessels making it harder to pump blood around the body.

Side effects: sometimes cause an irritating cough

Angiotensin receptor blockers
These medicines work by blocking the effect of the chemical angiotensin II.

Side effects: the drugs can cause dizziness

Calcium-channel blockers
These drugs affect the way calcium is used in blood vessels and the heart.
They have a relaxing effect on blood vessels.

Side-effects: sometimes cause dizziness, facial flushing, swollen ankles and constipation

Water tablets (diuretics)
Diuretics work by increasing the amount of salt and fluid that you pass in your urine.
They reduce the fluid circulating, which in turn reduces blood pressure.

Side-effects: can cause outbreaks of gout and impotence

Beta-blockers
Various beta-blockers are prescribed, including acebutolol and atenolol.
They work to slow the heart rate, reducing the force of the heart, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

Side-effects: can cause cool hands and feet, poor sleep, tiredness and impotence issues in some users.

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.'

Dan Bucknell, head of conservation and campaigns at the charity, said Mr Shand had 'infectious enthusiasm' for his work for Asian elephants.

He told the BBC: 'He did so much for the charity, he was a very fun-loving, warm-hearted generous guy, who was always very hands-on with all the events that we did and we are going to miss him very sorely.'

Mr Bucknell said the day after the auction 'should have really been one of celebration', but staff were left 'incredibly shocked, numbed and incredibly stunned' by the sad news.

A spokesman from Clarence House said the rest of the Royal family had been told of Mr Shand's death.

A spokesman for the New York medical examiner’s office confirmed that Mr Shand’s death had been reported to them.

An autopsy is expected to be carried out in the coming days but the spokesman said she could not provide any further details at this stage.

The tragedy casts doubt on the Duchess and the Prince of Wales’s planned tour of Canada next month.

Flying out on May 18, the pair were due to take part in events marking the centenary of World War One.

'They were also set to celebrate Victoria Day, a public holiday in Canada in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday.

The royal source said: ‘It is too early to say what will happen with next month’s tour.’

Close ties: Mr Shand and Prince Charles at a memorial service for Mr Shand's father Major Bruce Shand at St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge, London in September 2006

Close ties: Mr Shand and Prince Charles at a memorial service for Mr Shand's father Major Bruce Shand at St Paul's Church in Knightsbridge, London in September 2006

Camilla always spoke of her brother in deeply affectionate terms, even if his somewhat eccentric lifestyle was a far cry from the world she entered after marrying Charles in 2005.

Mr Shand escorted the Prince around a forest with a specially created ‘elephant corridor’ on the royal couple’s official tour of India last year.

He also undertook a 25-mile walk for the National Osteoporosis Society, of which the Duchess is president, in 2012.

Miss Dell’Olio was said to be ‘shocked and devastated’ at the news of Mr Shand’s death.

A source close to her said: ‘She was told the news shortly after it happened by friends in the UK.
‘She said there just were no words – what a wonderful man.’

Former Pakistan cricketer turned politician Imran Khan took to Twitter to pay tribute to Mr Shand.

He wrote: 'Shocked & saddened to learn of the death of one of my closest English friends',Mark Shand, in New York where he was raising funds 4 charity.'

Mr Khan's ex-wife Jemima Khan, cousin of Clio Shand added: 'RIP Mark Shand: Best man, godfather to my son & my cousin's ex'.

Television personality Piers Morgan tweeted: 'What an awful, tragic thing to happen. Poor Camilla & her family incl @tomparkerbowles.'

And Bianca Jagger, who Mr Shand was once linked with romantically, wrote: 'Devastated by the loss of my friend Mark Shand. He was an inspiration, a true conservationist. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.'

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