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Royals support Camilla at her father's funeral.

Almost 150 mourners including the Prince of Wales and Princes Harry and William joined the Duchess of Cornwall at the funeral of her father Major Bruce Shand yesterday.

The Duchess was joined by her sister, Annabelle Elliot, brother, Mark Shand, and her children Laura Lopez and Tom Parker Bowles at Holy Trinity Church, Stourpaine, Dorset, for the 45-minute service.

Major Shand's Union flag-draped coffin was taken into the picturesque 15th Century church before the mourners, and afterwards the Duchess, dressed in black, and Charles led out the mourners behind the coffin.

Major Shand, 89, a former cavalry officer, died last Sunday with his family at his bedside after a long illness.

The Major had previously battled against cancer.

As people filed out of the church, weeping Mrs Elliot had to be comforted.

The service was conducted by the Rev Stephen Colton, and the hymns sung included Jerusalem and I Vow To Thee My Country. The poem When I Am Dead by Christina Rossetti was read by Tom Parker Bowles and the homily was given by the Rt Rev Peter Ball.

Other mourners included Camilla's former husband Andrew Parker Bowles, former chancellor Lord Howe and actor Edward Fox.

The Duchess was close to her father who had been a source of support to her, especially during the intense publicity she faced throughout the 1990s when her relationship with Charles came to light.

In 2005, the proud Major finally saw his daughter marry Charles and become HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. In his later years he lived with his daughter Annabelle in Stourpaine.

In March this year, Camilla travelled to El Alamein to pay tribute on her father's behalf at the graves of two of his fallen comrades.

During the Second World War, Major Shand was awarded two Military Crosses ( something that was not lost on Winston Churchill who remarked when he saw the ribbons on his chest: "You're a very young man to have won two Military Crosses. How splendid. But you look so thin."

In 1942 the Major was shot and captured and spent the rest of the war as a POW.

After the service the mourners, headed by Camilla and Charles, followed the hearse for the brief journey to Major Shand's house where a wake took place.

A Clarence House spokesman said Major Shand's body would be cremated in a private ceremony.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 17, 2006
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