The Painful Condition Queen Camilla's Niece Ayesha Shand Lives With

Since standing out at King Charles's coronation in May 2023, Ayesha Shand has become a more well-known public figure. As the daughter of Camilla Parker-Bowles's late brother, Mark Shand, she is the Queen Consort's niece. However, Ayesha has another royal connection — her coworker at Hauser & Wirth Art Gallery, where she's the associate director, is none other than Princess Eugenie. The daughter of model Clio Goldsmith, she is also heavily involved in her dad's charity, Elephant Family, which Camilla and Charles have been co-presidents of since its founder's passing.

In January 2024, Shand decided to use her newfound fame to shine a spotlight on another important issue closely tied to her and her family — endometriosis. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the disease is characterized by uterine-like tissue growing outside the uterus. Not only can this cause a host of debilitating symptoms, but it can also impact fertility. In a video posted to Instagram, Shand confessed what the medical diagnosis means to her. Lying in bed and tearfully addressing the camera, she admits, "This is what endometriosis looks and feels like. It's isolating, agonizing, and completely unbearable."

It's not only the physical symptoms of endometriosis that can cause agony for those with the condition; the disease takes a mental toll, too. Shand continued in her caption, "Every month, I ingest hundreds of pain killers, faint, vomit, spend nights and days crouched on the floor crying. This is all followed by intense waves of helplessness and depression."

Her aunt may be able to sympathize with her

Ayesha Shand didn't gloss over how debilitating endometriosis can be, pointing out in her Instagram post how little attention is paid to the tremendous suffering women with this condition often experience. She explained, "Endometriosis is very difficult to diagnose, treat and ultimately cure. According to statistics 1 in 10 women suffer from it, but due to the inability to diagnose the condition, it is likely double that." Indeed, the National Health Institute estimates that 1 in 9 women of reproductive age have the disease, but that's a conservative number.

Treatment is possible when a diagnosis is achieved, though there is currently no cure for endometriosis. Shand revealed that she is taking steps to manage her symptoms. In a few weeks, she will have surgery that can potentially alleviate her discomfort. In most cases, endometriosis operations are laparoscopic, in which a doctor can enter the abdomen and destroy or remove misplaced uterine tissue through a small incision. However, sometimes, a hysterectomy is performed.

Queen Camilla herself had a hysterectomy in 2007. The royal family did not disclose exactly why she underwent the procedure. However, they did make the announcement ahead of her surgery date and weren't secretive about the operation. Endometriosis can run in families, so it's possible that Camilla was affected by the same condition as her niece, Shand.

Ayesha has used her platform before

In the last few lines of her post, Queen Camilla's niece, Ayesha Shand, shared a resource where others could learn more about endometriosis, furthering her goal to spread awareness about the painful disease. Shedding light on issues personally close to her is not something new for the art enthusiast. In March 2023, she shared videos on her Instagram account that highlighted mental health resources, awareness, and stigmas, particularly bipolar disorder.

Speaking honestly to the camera, she captioned her reel, "Today is International Bipolar Day. Having grown up alongside it, I know how isolating, confusing, and shameful it can feel. Talking about it openly and helping people understand what it is, is the only way to bury social taboos." Much to her followers' surprise, she then went on to reveal that during her childhood, she experienced witnessing one of her parents suffering from the condition. Shand did not disclose which parent, however. A few weeks later, she posted another reel addressing another mental health topic, suicide, after noting that her previous video seemed to benefit several people.

Whether speaking up about physical conditions or mental health, Shand isn't afraid to use her platform to spread awareness and decrease stigmas. It may be something we see more and more of as the royals become increasingly honest about what issues affect their day-to-day lives.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.