Camilla Parker Bowles' younger brother Mark Shand has died in New York after a freak accident.
Mr Shand, 62, a travel writer, environmental activist and auctioneer, slipped and banged his head on the pavement while lighting a cigarette outside a bar after attending a fund raising event in aid of a charity of which he was a patron.
Clarence House said in a statement, "It is with deep sadness that we have to confirm that the Duchess of Cornwall's brother, Mark Shand, has today passed away in New York. 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."
Shand was the chairman of Elephant Family. He was attending a party after an auction at Sotheby's in New York in aid of Elephant Family when the accident happened, according to the Daily Mirror, although other reports said he had moved on to a bar with friends after the end of the after-party.
The auction, which raised $1.6 million US dollars (£950,000) for charity, was also thought to have been attended by Princess Eugenie, who is working at online auction house Paddle 8 in New York, and has been a guest at other events organised by the Big Egg Hunt, which saw artists and celebrities such as Marc Quinn decorate giant egg sculptures, which the public were then encouraged to find in a treasure hunt.
An after-party was held at the Diamond Horseshoe nightclub at the Paramount Hotel on West 46th Street. The Mirror said that Mr Shand had stepped outside to smoke a cigarette when he slipped and fell. But the Mail said he had gone on to another bar with friends after the end of the party.
The Elephant Family said in a statement on their website, "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."
Mark Roland Shand was born on June 28, 1951 and was the younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Mr Shand hit the headlines last month amid claims he was involved with Strictly Come Dancing star Nancy Dell’Olio, the former girlfriend of ex-England football manager Sven Goran Eriksson.
He denied the affair in typically colorful terms, saying, “We have never dated. There is no romance; there has not been any romance, there never will be. I am more likely to have an affair with a ripe pomegranate! And I am very fond of pomegranates.”