Mark Shand

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Mark Shand
Mark Roland Shand

(1951-06-28)28 June 1951
London, England
Died23 April 2014(2014-04-23) (aged 62)
EducationSt Ronan's School, Kent
Milton Abbey School, Dorset
OccupationTravel writer, conservationist
Clio Goldsmith
(m. 1990; div. 2009)
Parent(s)Bruce Shand
Rosalind Cubitt

Mark Roland Shand (28 June 1951 – 23 April 2014) was a British travel writer and conservationist, and the brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.[1][2][3] Shand was the author of four travel books and as a BBC conservationist, appeared in documentaries related to his journeys, most of which centered on the survival of Elephants. His book Travels on My Elephant became a bestseller and won the Travel Writer of the Year Award at the British Book Awards in 1992. He was the chairman of Elephant Family, a wildlife foundation, which he co-founded in 2002.[4]

Family, education and marriage[edit]

Shand was born on 28 June 1951, as the son of Major Bruce Shand (1917–2006) and his wife, the Hon. Rosalind Maud Cubitt (1921–1994), daughter of the 3rd Baron Ashcombe and the former Sonia Rosemary Keppel, daughter of Alice Keppel. He was the brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Annabel Elliot.[3]

Shand was educated first at St Ronan's School in Kent[5] and then Milton Abbey School in Dorset. He was expelled from Milton Abbey for allegedly smoking cannabis.[6] As a result, his father sent him to Australia to make a living on his own, where he had numerous jobs including working as a jackaroo on a station and a guard at an opal mine.[7] He later returned to London and worked as a porter at Sotheby's, subsequently, he and his friend Harry Fane, the son of the 15th Earl of Westmorland, started a business of selling Cartier jewellery for a while.[8]

In 1990, Shand married Clio Goldsmith, a French former actress, daughter of Edward Goldsmith and niece of Sir James Goldsmith,[9] who were all members of the prominent Goldsmith family. They lived in Rome and had a daughter, Ayesha (born 1995).[10] Shand confirmed in 2010 that the couple were divorced.[11] He was a godfather to one of the sons of Jemima Goldsmith, his former wife's cousin.[12]


Shand published his first travel book Skulduggery in 1987, based on an expedition to Irian Jaya in Indonesia.[13] He later became the author of Travels on My Elephant (1992),[14] Queen of the Elephants (1996)[15] and River Dog: A Journey Down the Brahmaputra (2003).[16] Travels on My Elephant became a bestseller and won the Travel Writer of the Year Award at the British Book Awards in 1992.[7][8][17][18]

He was featured in many documentaries for the BBC and the National Geographic Channel,[17] some related to his writings. Elephants were featured in many of his writings and other pursuits. An unabashed Indophile, the majority of his writings and TV features were Indo-Nostalgic. He also had a deep interest in Hinduism and Indian culture.[3]

As a BBC conservationist and travel writer, he authored a book and the corresponding BBC documentary, Queen of the Elephants, based on the life of the first female mahout in recent times — Parbati Barua of Kaziranga. The book went on to win the Prix Litteraire d'Amis award, providing publicity simultaneously to the profession of mahouts, and to Kaziranga.[19][20]

Shand was actively involved in the conservation of the Asian elephant and co-founded a charity called Elephant Family in 2002.[21] His book Travels on My Elephant was about his adventure with "Tara" (his elephant) in India, who was the inspiration for the charity.[3][22] Shand was also a patron of Anti-Slavery International,[23] a member of the Royal Geographical Society and an honorary Chief Wildlife Warden of Assam.[17]

In 2014, he was named as "the Conservationist of the Year 2014" and received the Fragile Rhino award by the Perfect World Foundation at the Conservation Gala Dinner in Gothenburg, Sweden. Shand was expected to attend as a guest of honour but unexpectedly died before the event.[24]


On 23 April 2014, it was reported that Shand had been taken to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, New York, after sustaining a serious head injury caused by a fall outside the Rose Bar, of the Gramercy Park Hotel, after lighting a cigarette. Earlier in the evening he had attended a fund-raising auction at Sotheby's in aid of the Elephant Family.[25] Later that same day, it was reported that Shand had died.[25] His nephews Tom Parker Bowles and Ben Elliot flew to New York to escort his body back to the UK.[26] A private funeral service was held for Shand at the Holy Trinity Church in Stourpaine, Dorset, on 1 May 2014,[27] where his father's funeral service was held.[28]


To honour his memory as one of the greatest "wildlife" personalities of his generation, the Balipara Foundation Awards in Assam, India created the Mahout Mark Shand Recognition for Elephant Management award in 2014, shortly called the Mark Shand Mahout Award as a special award, which will be awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution towards the well-being of the Asiatic Elephant population.[29] Also in 2014, St Ronan's in Kent, his former school, dedicated an all-weather pitch named the Shandy-Ba under construction in his memory. Shand was known as a sporty pupil and captained the cricket and rugby teams during his time at the school from 1959 to 1964.[30][31]

After his death, The Elephant Family received overwhelming support, in reply, the charity launched The Mark Shand Memorial Fund, which will raise funds to save the Asian elephant.[32][33] The Elephant family also built the Mark Shand Memorial Asian Elephant Learning Centre, a clinic for elephants at the Kaziranga Discovery Park in India,[34] which was launched by life patron Sir Evelyn de Rothschild in November 2015.[35]

Travel books[edit]

  • Skulduggery (1987). Jonathan Cape Ltd. ISBN 978-0224025010
  • Travels on My Elephant (1992). Eland Books. ISBN 978-1906011697
  • Queen of the Elephants. (1996). Vintage. ISBN 978-0099592013
  • River Dog: A Journey Down the Brahmaputra. (2003). Little, Brown ISBN 978-0349115146



  1. ^ "The Elephant Man". W magazine. March 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ "The Duchess of Cornwall Background". Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Mark Shand is the Elephant man,; accessed 23 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Elephant Family". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Duchess of Cornwall visits brother Mark Shand's old school". BBC News. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Duchess of Cornwall 'utterly devastated' by death of brother Mark Shand". Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ a b "No gold, but adventurer Shand had a lifetime of riches". Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Mark Shand - obituary". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Mark Shand: The fascinating life of the dashing crusader". Hello! magazine. Retrieved 15 January 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "Mark Shand's daughter Ayesha pays tribute with poignant picture". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  11. ^ Roberts, Alison (15 April 2010). "Mark Shand is the Elephant man". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Camilla Parker Bowles's brother Mark Shand has died after falling and hitting his head in New York". Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  13. ^ Nicky Haslam (July 2011). "Vanity Fair Nominates Mark Shand". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  14. ^ Shand, Mark. "Travels on my Elephant". Amazon. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Down the Brahmaputra". The Hindu. 14 April 2002. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  16. ^ Shand, Mark. "River Dog: A Journey Down the Brahmaputra". Amazon. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  17. ^ a b c "Mark Shand: Campaigner whose efforts to save the Asian elephant took him far beyond the privileged circles from which he came". The Independent. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Mark Shand". hachette book group. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  19. ^ Bordoloi, Anupam (15 March 2005). "Wild at heart". The Calcutta Telegraph. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  20. ^ "Mark Shand death was an accident". The Independent. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  21. ^ Reuters. "Brother-in-law of Britain's Prince Charles dies in New York". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  22. ^ "Mark Shand on his perfect weekend". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  23. ^ "Anti-Slavery International Patrons". Archived from the original on 30 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Mr Mark Shand Awarded with". Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  25. ^ a b "Duchess of Cornwall's brother Mark Shand dies in fall". BBC Online. 23 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  26. ^ "'Camilla's son Tom Parker Bowles and nephew fly to New York to collect Mark Shand's body'". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  27. ^ "Duchess of Cornwall leads mourners at brother Mark Shand's funeral a week after he died in fall". The Mirror. 1 May 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  28. ^ "The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles arrive at the family funeral of her brother Mark Shand". Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  29. ^ "Balipara Foundation Awards - 2014". Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Duchess of Cornwall visits brother Mark Shand's old school". BBC. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  31. ^ "The Duchess of Cornwall visits Kent". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  32. ^ "The Mark Shand Memorial Fund". Elephant Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  33. ^ "Prince Charles and Camilla attend funeral of Mark Shand in Dorset". Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  34. ^ "Captive Elephants of Northeast now have a Clinic in Kaziranga". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  35. ^ "Park gets clinic for captive jumbos". The Telegraph India. Retrieved 28 April 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)

External links[edit]