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Queen Camilla's grandfather 'violently assaulted' his first wife while pregnant

NewsQueen Camilla's grandfather 'violently assaulted' his first wife while pregnant

Camilla’s paternal grandfather was accused of “violently assaulting” his first wife, documents kept at the National Archives show.

The late adored father of the Queen, Major Bruce Shand, was the son of writer Philip Morton Shand and his first wife Edith Marguerite Tippet.

Mr Morton Shand, who came from a wealthy background and was educated at Eton, Cambridge, the Sorbonne and Heidelberg University, married London-born Ms Tippet, a descendant of Essex farmers, in April 1916.

But only a few months later, in August that same year, Mr Morton Shand attacked Edith while she was four months pregnant with Camilla’s father, the documents claim.

Official papers filed in 1919 – when Edith sued for divorce – and unearthed by the Mail on Sunday read: “The said Philip Morton Shand violently assaulted [his wife] by dragging her by her arms out of bed into a spare room in her night-dress, bruising her breast and knees and knocking her head, as a result of which [she] fainted.

“At this time [she] was pregnant, and in view of her condition she was removed under doctor’s advice by [Shand’s] father to his house in Edwardes Place.”

Shortly after the reported violence, Mr Morton Shand joined the Royal Fusiliers and Edith was left alone to give birth to the child who would later become Major Bruce Shand.

The divorce was arranged after the end of the war, when the author provided grounds for divorce in a fashion common for men of his status at the time: allowing himself to be discovered by a private investigator in the company of an unknown woman.

In court, the allegation of domestic violence was overshadowed by the episode of adultery, deemed more scandalous at the time than raising hands to women.

Mr Morton Shand isn’t believed to have been part of Major Shand’s upbringing or life.

The writer went on to marry and divorce twice after the nuptials with Edith came to an end in 1919, and among his children was a girl who grew up to be the wife of former Chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe – Elspeth Rosamund Morton Howe.

His second wife sued him for divorce on the grounds of “cruelty, adultery and desertion”, while his third wife didn’t allege cruelty upon splitting from him.

He eventually died in Lyon in April 1960, home to his third wife Georgette Thérèse Edmée Avril, with his fourth wife by his side, Sybil Mary Sissons, who had married him in 1931.

Camilla isn’t known to have publicly discussed her famous paternal grandfather as it isn’t known if she was aware of the allegations against him and whether they may have further pushed her to become a champion of victims of domestic violence.

Signalling she would continue to keep the spotlight on domestic abuse even after becoming Queen, in November 2022 Her Majesty lashed out at the “global pandemic of violence against women” in a landmark and strongly-worded speech she delivered during a high-profile reception.

Hosted at Buckingham Palace only a few weeks into King Charles’s reign, the event saw among the attendees Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska, Jordan’s Queen Rania, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie Johnson.

The call to action saw Camilla telling people two of the most powerful ways to offer help to victims “to remember” those who lost their lives due to domestic violence and “to listen” to those who can still tell their stories.

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