How James and Spencer Matthews' brother Michael disappeared on Everest after becoming youngest Brit to scale peak
Michael Matthews, also brother to Made in Chelsea star Spencer, disappeared as he made a bid to become the youngest Brit to climb the world’s highest peak in 1999.
He was lost in heavy snow and fierce gales on the mountain’s infamous Death Zone, more than 8,000 metres high.
Michael was the 162nd person to die on Everest and his body has never been found.
Pippa’s husband James, 42, was close to tragic Michael and was only 18 months older.
Pippa and James are now committed to doing good acts around the world for the Michael Matthews Foundation, which builds schools in poverty-stricken regions.
They have also named their first son after James' fallen brother.
Arthur Michael William Matthews was born at the Lindo Wing in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on October 16 2018.
Spencer wrote about the family tragedy in his autobiography Confessions of a Chelsea Boy.
He said: “His loss was devastating for the family and over time this became worse because the circumstances surrounding Michael’s death have never been fully explained.
“James took the news badly.
“With just a year and a half between them, he and Mike were the closest of friends. The loss was heartbreaking for James.”
Michael was an experienced mountain climber who had scaled the Swiss Alps, the Pyrenees and Kilimanjaro before he tackled Everest.
The trip cost him £22,000 through a company called Out There Trekking.
Michael led the climbing pack but the team said he struggled near the end and was the last to reach the peak.
They spent 20 minutes enjoying the view from the peak before descending using climbing ropes.
On the way down they were hit by a bad storm an 100mph winds and Michael got separated from the group.
The Matthews' millionaire dad David has always blamed mountain guides’ negligence for his death and has launched multiple legal battles to try and prove it.
In 2006, he brought a private prosecution against three men working for the tour firm claiming his son’s oxygen supply was faulty, there were insufficient safety briefings and his guide failed to keep Michael in his sights.
But a judge dismissed the case, saying there was no evidence of gross negligence.
The unanswered questions have made it harder for the family to come to terms with losing Michael.
In his book Spencer wrote: “We have not been able to say goodbye in person. We have nowhere to go to sit with him.
“He lives on with us in our minds only.
“On Mike’s birthday James and I send mum and dad red roses for the age he would have been.
“I guess our family’s way of dealing with losing Mike is to believe that he goes on with us.
“It’s just that he’s in another place.”
James now regularly take part in gruelling charity trips including marathons, triathlons and iron-man races.
He and Pippa Middleton announced their engagement in 2016 after dating for less than a year.
Pippa was spotted wearing an enormous diamond ring thought to be worth around £250,000.
The couple married on 20 May, 2017 and are also expecting a baby soon.
Spencer revealed his older brother was always a hit with the ladies.
He said: “As a boy I wanted James’s girlfriends. He had some incredible girlfriends.”
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