Pictured on their wedding day: The Tetra Pak heir and his doomed drug addict bride whose friend Prince Charles 'was like a father to her'
23:52 GMT, 13 July 2012
Apart from the magnificent displays of flowers on which 20,000 was spent, it could so easily have been mistaken for just another family wedding.
True, Hans Kristian Rausing and Eva Kemeny were being married in London’s Swedish Church by the Archbishop of Sweden, but only because he was an old family friend from Lund, the provincial backwater where the bridegroom’s grandfather — the billionaire inventor of the Tetra Pak carton — used to live.
No celebrity guests (if you exclude the Russian ambassador to Stockholm, also a family friend), no fanfare of publicity, no paparazzi at this quietly-organised wedding in October, 1992, when the heir to one of the world’s richest families married the American girl he had met in a Surrey drugs rehab clinic.
Before their fall: The wedding of Hans and Eva Rausing before their lives took a very different, and tragic turn
And certainly no members of the European royal house among the congregation — that would never have been the Rausing style.
Yet, as the fragile body of Eva Rausing was being examined this week, having apparently lain for several days in the drug-induced chaos of the couple’s 70 million Chelsea home, one person who mourned her almost as much as any members of her family was the Prince of Wales.
For behind the tragedy of Eva Rausing lies an extraordinary story of friendship and loyalty that she and Prince Charles struck up.
Initially, it was based on her wealth — at least, on her husband’s wealth, which the couple used liberally for good causes through their foundation the Eva And Hans Rausing Charitable Trust.
Unlike so many rich benefactors who make a bee-line for the Prince’s charities because of the kudos of rubbing shoulders with the royals, Eva Rausing and the gangly, bespectacled Hans, a man of very few words, pointedly targeted low-profile charities dealing with drug addiction.
‘They were different from other benefactors,’ says Lord Mancroft, former chairman of Mentor, the drugs prevention charity. ‘You can always get money from someone putting his name on a new hospital wing or an Oxbridge college, but nobody wants to support the rent or the wages and that’s just what the Rausings did — they kept us going for three years with around 600,000.’
History: Prince Charles and Camilla, to whom Eva grew close
Eva, inevitably, was eventually approached by Robert Higdon, who used to run the Prince’s U.S. Foundation, where he gained a reputation for persuading rich people to part with millions of dollars for Charles’s causes.
But it was Michael Fawcett (who else), the Prince’s ever-present right-hand man, who was given the delicate task of transforming Eva and Hans’s tentative interest into cash.
That meant concentrating on Eva, because, as Lord Mancroft recalls, ‘she was the one who did the talking, and if there was a fundraising do, she’d be the one to go — he wasn’t very interested in that’.
Before long Eva, the British-educated daughter of an American Pepsi Cola executive, was being invited to Charles’s charity dinners organised by Fawcett. And, on more than one occasion, she found herself placed next to the Prince of Wales.
Sometimes Hans came, too, but usually she was alone. Certainly, that was the case when she was invited to a lavish dinner thrown by Charles for his major donors at Highgrove soon after the millennium and was engaged in deep conversation by the Prince.
‘Eva was always enthusiastic and lively,’ says a senior courtier. ‘She was also very generous, writing big cheques — upwards of half-a- million pounds — for the cause closest to the Prince’s heart, the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.
Decline: Another picture of the couple who were
pictured looking scruffy and confused just weeks before Mrs Rausing was
found dead on Monday and there are suggestions her body had been there
for three or four days
den: Despite living in this vast 70million Belgravia mansion, the
couple – who had fought a long battle with addiction to hard drugs – had
become increasingly reclusive, confining themselves to two squalid
A post-mortem has been carried out by Home Office pathologist Nat Carey, in the presence of
In so many cases, benefactors to Charles’s charities misinterpret the Prince’s gratitude as personal friendship.
Yet, it was a very personal friendship that developed between the vivacious, talkative Eva and the thoughtful, sensitive prince.
‘He knew of her troubled background and began to feel very paternal towards her,’ says one close figure.
‘I think it was her vulnerability and transparency. He could see that her generosity was solely based on the satisfaction that she got from doing good with their money and had nothing to do with seeking royal company.
‘She didn’t need to be feted and clearly was not interested in any honours. To be frank, he was touched, and he became genuinely fond of her. I recall him walking her round the garden and chuckling at her observations — she was always amusing company.’
Eva became a trustee of his foundation and, more recently, also got to know the Duchess of Cornwall through her osteoporosis charity. She was a weekend guest of the royal couple at Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk estate.
Billionaire Hans Kristian Rausing, pictured with his wife a few years ago, may have lived with his wife Eva's dead body for up to four days before it was discovered by police it has been claimed
So it came as no surprise to close friends that Charles spoke up for her when Eva Rausing relapsed in 2008 and was caught with heroin and crack cocaine in her handbag when being routinely searched on a visit to the U.S. embassy to renew her passport. A carefully-worded statement from Clarence House said: ‘The Prince’s charities work with young people, many of whom have had problems with drugs.
‘They aim to give these people a second chance to help them rebuild their lives.
‘It would, therefore, be hypocritical for the Prince not to give Eva Rausing a second chance.’
/07/13/article-2173036-1405B8F4000005DC-437_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Internet pictures from her Myspace page of Eva Rausing” class=”blkBorder” />
Inquest: Pictures of Eva Rausing from her
MySpace page. A post-mortem examination has concluded no obvious cause
of death has been found and further tests including toxicology are
Meanwhile, another figure who has watched events with sadness in his heart is the Rev Lennart Sjostrom, the former Rector of the Swedish Church in London for 25 years, who assisted the Archbishop of Sweden at the Rausing wedding.
‘I remember the occasion so well,’ he said yesterday, speaking from his summer home in Kalmar in southern Sweden. ‘In particular, I remember how Hans and Eva were shining with health — I knew nothing then about their problems with drugs.
‘I just saw two people who were immensely happy and so in love, and I remember the looks on their faces as they exchanged their vows and promised to love and honour each other.’
As they stepped out of the church, a musician on a key harp, a traditional Swedish instrument, accompanied them towards what should have been a glorious future.
Coaches took the 250 guests across London to the Hurlingham Club in Fulham (where Eva used to attend the annual Thanksgiving dinner), for a jolly wedding breakfast of champagne toasts and energetic dancing.
For the Rector, who is now retired, it was the start of a spiritual relationship with Eva and Hans — over the years he baptised their four children, now aged 11 to 17.
None of the baptisms was in his church. The children were baptised at home, either at Wadhurst, Hans Rausing Snr’s 900-acre estate in East Sussex, or at Eva and Hans’s Chelsea house.
As at the wedding, these were intimate family occasions with Eva’s parents flying in from South Carolina, but without social gloss and definitely no celebrities or publicity.
Lennart Sjostrom knew of their narcotics dependence by now, and how the couple had met at a drugs rehabilitation clinic in Dorking, Surrey. But they seemed to have pulled through successfully.
‘There was a deep affection between them that had never diminished,’ he says. ‘They still loved each other.’
But these were happy years when visitors would find the hall filled with children’s toys and Hans was filling his walls with his only known interest — paintings.
Two houses in London had been knocked together to make one vast residence, but there was never a large retinue of servants, just two Filipina ladies and occasionally one of their husbands to help around the house.
Charity officials meeting Eva in the couple’s home would talk around the dining table and have tea and soft drinks.
As for Prince Charles, he had met and chatted with Eva several times since the drugs episode at the U.S. embassy in 2008, and was hoping she had overcome her weakness.
It shocked him this week to learn just how her domestic life with Hans had lately been reduced to the two filthy, disorganised rooms where her body was found.
Meanwhile, in Sweden, the 71-year-old Rev Sjostrom was remembering that bride and groom whose happiness promised so much.
‘I know Eva and Hans as good people,’ he said. ‘They deserve to be treated with fondness and respect because they are worth that.’
He added: ‘But when two people have a similar problem it is hard for one to be strong for the other.’