Royal couple deeply saddened at the death of their friend Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have expressed their sadness at the death of their close friend, socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

She died at the age of 45 after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year.

Also see: Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson dead at 45
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The royal couple said they were "deeply saddened and our thoughts are so much with the family".

Palmer-Tomkinson revealed in November that she was being treated for a non-malignant growth in her pituitary gland and had expressed fears that she would die after being told of her condition by doctors.

She was diagnosed with the tumour last January after she returned from a ski trip.

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

She told the Daily Mail: "I got terribly frightened. I started thinking 'I'm going to die, I'm going to die. I've only got a couple of weeks to live.' Stuff like that."

At the time, Palmer-Tomkinson, who has battled drug problems in the past, also revealed that she was suffering with an auto-immune disease which had caused tiredness, joint pain and acute anaemia.

She was a regular on the London party scene in the 1990s and made headlines for her social life, frequently appearing in the pages of both society and celebrity magazines.

During her years in the spotlight, she was a newspaper columnist and television personality

The Prince of Wales being greeted by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson during a reception at Clarence House in 2003

The Prince of Wales being greeted by Tara Palmer-Tomkinson during a reception at Clarence House in 2003

Despite being famed for her hard partying and exhibitionist streak, Palmer-Tomkinson and her family were close friends of the Royal Family and she attended the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.

She appeared on reality TV series I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! in 2002 and came second to DJ Tony Blackburn.

She also made appearances on other TV shows including celebrity specials of Blind Date and A Place In The Sun.

Her father Charles was a former British Olympic skier who instructed Charles and i n 1988 her mother Patti was skiing in the Swiss Alps with the Prince when their party was hit by an avalanche which killed the Queen's former equerry, Major Hugh Lindsay, and left Mrs Palmer-Tomkinson with serious leg injuries.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "Police were called by London Ambulance Service at approximately 13:40hrs on Wednesday February 8 to an address in Bramham Gardens, SW5.

"A woman, aged in her 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"At this early stage, the death is being treated as unexplained.

"We are not treating this death as suspicious. The coroner has been informed and the next of kin has been informed."

In 2014 she quit the reality show The Jump before it even started and said she had become a recluse after suffering a nervous breakdown.

She also opened up about her battle with drug addiction on ITV show Jeremy Kyle: The Celebrity Specials.

She broke down in tears as she recalled the night she nearly died from an overdose during her battle with cocaine addiction.

She said: "I remember timing my heart because I knew it was going to stop and I remember my telephone was (a few metres away) ... I remember crawling on my hands and knees to pick up the phone and call ... and then I woke up in hospital."

"I think that was the night I had an overdose. I have never attempted suicide ... I think it was a cry for help."

She eventually quit drugs following a 35-day stint in an Arizona rehab clinic, but returned nine years later when she thought she was having a nervous breakdown.

She said: " The reasons I went were private, the reasons I went were that I believed that I was having a nervous breakdown because I was so frightened of this British press, of these paparazzi who went through my rubbish, who led me to believe that every chimney sound or thunderstorm was a paparazzi attack and I couldn't deal with it and I still can't deal with it.

"Most people think that when you relapse that you have to take a substance. I have seen a therapist every single week for the last 11 years of my life, I don't need to relapse on a substance. I can relapse and it just means my brain is overdosing into a way that I just can't cope and, you know what, I may not be perfect but parts of me are awesome!"

The former IT girl said: "I am a recluse ... I get terribly anxious going out, I've only been out (in the evenings) three times this year ... I haven't worked for two years."