She seemed to cut a rather lonely figure at her younger sister’s wedding last month, when she dutifully accompanied her mother (said to have been “a bag of nerves” on the big day), into St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Poor old Princess Beatrice. Watching your little sister walk down the aisle in the same year that your ex boyfriend of a decade also tied the knot? That must have smarted a bit.
Well, as it turns out, Bea has had the last laugh. Little did we know that, all along, she was harbouring a secret new romance, which by the time of the October nuptials was already blossoming into something very special indeed.
The elder York sister has historically been unlucky in love (she has been single since splitting up with Dave Clarke in 2016, after 10 years together), but it seems her luck could be about to change with a new beau on the scene in the form of Italo-English multi-millionaire Edoardo Mapelli-Mozzi.
Until recently Edoardo — or Edo, as his friends call him — would have been high on any list of eligible Euro totty. Sure, he has a past (he is a divorced father-of-one), but once you hit 30, as Beatrice did in August, doesn’t everyone have a little baggage?
The small matter of an adorable two-year-old son (called Wolfie) aside, Edo is a real catch. In a speech shortly before Eugenie’s wedding, Beatrice urged a room full of young people to “find someone in your life you can confide in”, and she has seemingly found that in Edo, who has made his Instagram account - he has 10.7k followers - private since news of their relationship leaked out. In 2007, he founded the successful property consultancy Banda, which specialises in discreetly finding and developing multi-million pound homes for wealthy clients. In any case, Banda, which means “big shed” in Swahili (naturally), has made the 34-year-old a great deal of money.
His pedigree is certainly blue-blooded. His father is former British Olympic Alpine skier Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi; his cousin Edward Ankarcrona, who married Lady Lucinda Savile (daughter of the Earl and Countess of Mexborough). In fact, Edo is technically a count himself, but as he is a British citizen he can’t use the title in this country — foreign styles and titles having been confined to those who received a Royal Warrant from King George V in 1932.
His beloved stepfather, whom his mother Nicola remarried when he was young, was Christopher Shale, who tragically died at Glastonbury Festival in 2011 and was a close friend of David Cameron’s.
At the time, Edo spoke publicly on behalf of the family, saying: “He was a father to me, the only father I have ever known, and a father to all three of us — the best father we could ever have.” Princess Beatrice was among the 700 mourners at Shale’s funeral.
One close friend tells me that the new couple seem very happy together: “It hasn’t been long at all, in fact it’s very early days, but it’s just such happy news, especially given everything with Christopher a few years ago.”
But though the romance is new, the friendship is not. Beatrice and Edo’s families have been good pals for years. Though reports suggest Beatrice “recently introduced Edo to her parents as her boyfriend”, it wasn’t really an introduction at all, as they have always moved in similar social circles. One source suggests that the Duchess of York might even have been behind the set up: “Fergie is really good at that kind of thing. She is such good fun. And Edo’s family are the loveliest people in the whole world.”
It is so often the way with the Eu-rah lot. They spend their teenage years getting raucously drunk at the same parties, only to get hitched later down the line once the realisation sets in that they really ought to settle down.
And Beatrice and Edo move in this cliquey, very particular set, made up of European royals, heirs and heiresses. Here’s your guide...
The guestlist at the last two royal weddings should serve as a good measure of the eclectic circle the young royals move in. They all meet, I’m told, at European debutantes balls known as Rallyes — les soirées très sélects, as Le Figaro puts it — when they are in their early 20s, and before long are “partying in each other’s massive pads all over the world”.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie have always been known for having a wide-ranging and well connected group, from models like Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne, to Italian heiresses Lydia and Irene Forte, daughters of hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, and the von Bismarck family (Kate Moss’s photographer ex-boyfriend Nikolai is a great friend of Beatrice’s — in fact she chose him to take her official 18th birthday photograph).
Then there are the usual suspects among the European royals — you know, your Casiraghis and Greeces. There’s Princess Theodora, a London-based actress and the youngest daughter of King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie; Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte Casiraghi, the beautiful young Monegasque royal family. And, of course, there’s now a younger cohort coming up, including 22-year-old Princess Olympia, Prince Charles’s goddaughter, who has modelled for Dolce and Gabbana. Not to mention Princess Talita Von Furstenberg, daughter of Diane Von Furstenberg and Prince Egon von Furstenberg, who recently graduated from Georgetown.
Where they hang out
Where other than the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, home to royal residences and more foreign embassies than you can shake a stick at. Carlo Carello’s Albert’s, a nightclub in South Kensington run by the former owner of Boujis (Prince William and Harry’s erstwhile favourite), is apparently the current boîte of choice. A members-only affair for the over-25s, where you can feast on all manner of hearty fare like steak tartare, white Alba truffles and veal milanese, before the restaurant is turned into a dancefloor and the ice buckets come out. NB: a glass of wine there costs £25.
“The Euro lot all tend to end up at Albert’s,” says one source. “They love it there. It’s either that or long brunches at the Ivy in Chelsea.”
Verbier in the winter, St Barts in the summer - though for the younger members of the set, Mykonos is the choix du moment. “It’s all very multigenerational”, says a source. “And Fergie will be there partying with them as much as any of the younger ones” - she did know all their parents back in her heyday, after all.
Indeed, names like former Findus tycoon Geir Frantzen, and Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal are often among the older members of the set. Beatrice is said to have unveiled Edo as her boyfriend at an exclusive London party recently thrown by Mittal.
But make no mistake, there are plenty of youngsters to bolster their ranks - for them, summer 2018 was seemingly one long holiday, with Instagram awash with snaps of Olympia, Talita and Lady Amelia Windsor frolicking around Europe, hopping from festivals to private yachts. As they are already learning, it’s a full-time job being a member of the Eu-rah set. All the better, then, if you can find a partner to share it all with you.