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Duchess of Cornwall breaks silence as she mourns sad family death

Her paternal aunt Baroness Howe has sadly passed away

The Duchess of Cornwall is mourning the death of her paternal aunt Baroness Howe, widow of the late former chancellor Lord Howe. Camilla said it was a "sad time for all the family" and is understood to have greatly admired her relative and all she did for her country.

Baroness Howe's family confirmed her death in a statement, announcing that she passed away on Tuesday night following a battle with cancer.

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"It is with great sadness that the Howe family announces that Baroness Elspeth Howe of Idlicote, widow of the late Lord Geoffrey Howe of Aberavon, died late last night, aged 90, at her home in Idlicote, Warwickshire, after a brave battle with cancer," the statement read.

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"She will be missed intensely by her whole family and many friends. We are immensely proud of her many achievements, especially her championing of the causes close to her heart which she supported so effectively during her remarkable lifetime."

Funeral details will be revealed in due course.

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Baroness Howe was the daughter of the writer Philip Morton Shand by his fourth wife, Sybil Mary Shand. The Baroness was Camilla's half-aunt as the half sister of the Duchess' father Major Bruce Shand.

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Baroness Howe passed away on Tuesday night aged 90

The late Baroness was a British life peer and crossbench member of the House of Lords. She served as deputy chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission from 1975 to 1979, and was later made Chair of the Broadcasting Standards Commission. She retired from Parliament in June 2020.

Baroness Howe was also appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1999 New Year's Honours list.

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The Duchess and Baroness at the 2015 service of thanksgiving for the Baroness' late husband Geoffrey Howe

Camilla will no doubt be mourning her family member's death in private. She and her husband Prince Charles are currently on a tour of Northern Ireland and Ireland to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. The royals arrived in County Tyrone on Tuesday and headed to the small town of Cookstown.

The couple were treated to a musical spectacular by the social enterprise Superstars Coffee Dock, which provides training opportunities for people with learning difficulties. Chairwoman and founder May McAvoy described Charles and Camilla as "absolutely lovely and so friendly".

"The Duchess helped to make an apple tart in the kitchen, and the prince helped with the gardening, and potting of plants," Ms McAvoy told the PA news agency. "He was very interested to meet as many of our young people as possible which was lovely."

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