The brother of Britain's Duchess of Cornwall has died in New York after sustaining a serious head injury in a fall.

Mark Shand, 62, was taken to hospital last night after reportedly slipping while lighting a cigarette.

He hit his head on the pavement outside an after-party for a charity event.

Camilla Parker Bowles and her husband Prince Charles are said to be "utterly devastated" by the news.

Mr Shand, a travel writer and conservationist, was in New York for an auction held at Sotheby's in aid of a charity for underprivileged children and the Elephant Family, which aims to save the endangered Asian elephant from extinction in the wild.

It was the finale for the month-long Big Egg Hunt NYC by Faberge, which saw egg sculptures sold to the highest bidder.

The event raised $1.6 million (€1.1m) for charity, according to reports.

Mr Shand is the chairman of the Elephant Family.

A spokesman for Clarence House said: "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."