Monday 23 January 2017

Relationship between a woman and her brother can be one of life's most cherished

Published 05/05/2014 | 02:30

Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, accompanied by her husband Prince Charles, leaves after attending the funeral of her brother Mark Shand. Photo: Reuters
Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, accompanied by her husband Prince Charles, leaves after attending the funeral of her brother Mark Shand. Photo: Reuters

The sight of Camilla Cornwall's weeping face at the funeral of her brother Mark Shand was itself a tribute to the attachment that can exist between sister and brother.

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To lose a brother is to lose part of your own narrative, your childhood's memory, your shared family experience: and, for a grown woman, to lose an influential masculine presence of platonic kinship. Many a woman, looking at that picture, must have reflected on the impact of a brother's loss.

Mark Shand was not exactly stable husband material – men who run off on the hippy trail to Bali seldom tick that box. Expelled from his posh boarding school at the age of 16 – allegedly for smoking dope – he led an adventurer's life in his prime, and "never tied himself to anything so tedious as a full-time job", as one obituarist wrote.

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