Duchess' Brother, Mark Shand, Laid to Rest

The Duchess of Cornwall led mourners at Mark Shand's funeral. The service was held at the Holy Trinity Church in Stourpaine, Dorset. Prince Charles was with her at the sad occasion.

The Duchess of Cornwall, with Prince Charles at her side, led about 180 mourners at her brother's, Mark Shand, funeral, which was held at the Holy Trinity Church in Stourpaine, Dorset. His body was laid on a biodegradable wicker coffin adorned with garlands of flowers.

Together with the Duchess and Prince, was her daughter, Laura Lopes. Other people who attended the funeral included Annabel Elliot - Camilla's sister, Kate Elliot - her niece, and Ayesha - Mr. Shand's 19-year-old daughter.

Tom Parker Bowles and Tom Elliot, Mr. Shand's nephews - who accompanied his remains on the flight back to the UK - were also present. Both of them gave their readings at the service.

Yusuf Islam, a musician and formerly known as Cat Stevens, sang an acoustic rendition of his song Wild World. There were also tributes from Ayesha and Don McCullin, a close friend.

Mark Shand, aged 62, died on April 23, 2014 after he fell and hit his head while in New York hosting a charity auction. The travel writer and conservationist died unexpectedly following the tragic accident, leaving family members and Camilla devastated.

Mr. Shand's remains were flown back to the UK on a private jet after the medical examiner considered the death accidental.

Mark Shand, the Duchess' younger brother, was known for his dedication to preserving and protecting endangered Asian elephants. In 1988, he rescued a female elephant named Tara from a street in eastern India and road on its back 600 miles across the country. This inspired his book "Travels on My Elephant", a best-selling work about the elephant and his experiences while on the journey.

In 2002, he founded the conservation charity, Elephant Family, together with four partners and two financial backers, Bruce Weber and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. Other names who were involved in the various stages of the organisation included Ben and Zac Goldsmith, Goldie Hawn and Diane von Furstenberg. The charity, where he served as a chairperson, is a wildlife foundation aiming to save the Asian elephant from extinction.

Apart from protecting these endangered elephants, Mr. Shand was featured in many various television documentaries and programmes, such as the BBC's Queen of the Elephants. As a conservationist, he wrote a book on the life of the first female elephant handler - also called a mahout, a term derived from the Hindi words mahaut and mahavatan. The book won the Prix Literaire d'Amis and the 1996 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award.

Mark Shand, together with his sisters, spent their times together in Stourpaine, at Annabel Elliot's home. He described her house as his family's "centre". The church where Mr. Shand's funeral was held was also the venue for their father's funeral in 2006.

Elephant Family was touched by the support showed since the founder's untimely and tragic death. To show its deep gratitude, it launched the Mark Shand Memorial Fund in order to raise funds to save the Asian elephant.

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