Rich single dad set to join the royals

 

Pity the Rector of St George's Chapel at Windsor.

There is every chance that in the coming months, the poor overworked chap will be facing his fourth royal wedding in two years, which might just be a royal family record, with the nuptials of Princess Beatrice and fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. (He is known as Edo to his mates.)

News broke on Thursday night, that the ninth in line to the throne had accepted Edo's proposal after he popped the question two weeks ago during an Italian holiday.

While on paper he might sound like the usual sort of wealthy, connected chap that moved in Bea's circles, Edo, 36, is a much more interesting (and complicated) bloke.

The couple
The couple "became engaged while away for the weekend in Italy earlier this month," the palace said in a statement. Picture: Buckingham Palace/AFP.

 

ROYAL FIRSTS

There are a number of ways that Edo will make history when he marries into the world's most famous family. He is the first single parent to join the Queen's family in the last century at least (more on that later), which means that Bea will be the first of the young royals to become a step parent, (Charles is a stepfather to the Duchess of Cornwall's children, Tom Parker Bowles and Laura Lopes.)

There is a good chance that Edo will be the wealthiest new member of the royal clan, being a self-made millionaire who has built one of London's most successful property development firms. (Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is rumoured to have been worth about $5 million when she became an HRH.)

 

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo attend the Portrait Gala at National Portrait Gallery in March this year. Picture: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images.
Princess Beatrice and Edoardo attend the Portrait Gala at National Portrait Gallery in March this year. Picture: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images.

 

BLUE BLOOD

Edo's father is Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi who was a member of the British ski team at the Sapporo Olympic Games. Technically, Edo should be a count himself too. However, under rules imposed by King George V in 1932, he can't use the title in the UK.

Edo's parents split up when he was young and spent his youth moving between homes in the UK and France.

"We lived in old mill houses, that kind of thing - I like trying to work out how to make an old building function for modern life," he told the (UK) Telegraph earlier this year.

Despite his Italian ancestry, Edo is very much an English blue blood. His cousin married the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Mexborough and he himself attended Radley, a private boys boarding school, before studying for a Master's in politics at Edinburgh.

In adulthood, he has moved in the same aristocratic circles as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie - along with Prince Harry's former girlfriend Cressida Bonas - young London-based European royals such as Princess Theordora of Greece, and Prince Charles's goddaughter Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece.

GROWING UP WITH THE YORKS

While Edo and Beatrice might have had a whirlwind romance - having met, dated, moved in together and gotten engaged in a year - he has known the York girls since childhood.

His mother, Nikki, and stepfather were close to the Duke and Duchess of York and Sarah Ferguson is the godmother of Edo's half-brother Alby.

 

The couple announced their engagement by sharing some photos taken recently in Italy where Edo proposed. Picture: Princess Eugenie/Buckingham Palace/Getty Images
The couple announced their engagement by sharing some photos taken recently in Italy where Edo proposed. Picture: Princess Eugenie/Buckingham Palace/Getty Images

GLASTO DEATH

Edo suffered a great loss with the death of his stepfather Christopher Shale in 2011, who was a close friend of then-Prime Minister David Cameron. Shale's body was discovered inside a portaloo at the Glastonbury music festival after he had suffered a heart attack.

Fergie is said to have comforted Edo when he received the tragic news and Beatrice numbered among the 700 mourners who gathered at his funeral.

Edo, at the time, said: "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."

 

Beatrice was among mourners after Christopher Shale’s passing.
Beatrice was among mourners after Christopher Shale’s passing.

 

PROPERTY TYCOON

After graduating from university Edo briefly worked as a researcher for David Cameron before deciding to start his own company at the age of 23. He named the venture Banda, which is Swahili for "big house" or "big shed" after coming up with the idea while staying at his father's coastal estate on the Kenyan island of Lamu.

In the years since then, Banda has grown to be one of London's leading property firms and is reported to have developed more than $1 billion worth of homes.

Such is the popularity of the interiors of his company's projects, earlier this year Edo launched Banda Design Studios whose recent projects include a New York apartment, a Swiss ski chalet and a Croatian villa. He is also reported to be working on his own furniture range too.

 

 

THE MYSTERY BLACK EYE

In 2014, Edo ended up in the Daily Mail after a mysterious incident at a society wedding. Investment banker Alexander Jevons was left with a black eye with his girlfriend posting a shot of the shiner along with the comment, "My man Alex Jevons, ya should see the other guy Edo Mapelli Mozzi. Sign of the best wedding ever. Now Jev has a lasting memory."

When asked by the Daily Mail at the time about the injury, Edo said: "I think it was a dance move, or he fell over."

MEET WOLFIE

Edo is not only a design and business whiz (and something of a looker) but he also happens to be a Dad - he has a toddler son named Wolfie.

Prior to his relationship with Beatrice, Edo was engaged to an American architect named Dara Huang. Reports vary whether they split before or after Bea and Edo started seeing one another. (Sparks are widely believed to have flown between the duo during her sister Princess Eugenie's October wedding last year.)

 

 

"It was a very awkward crossover of romances," someone from Edo's circle told The Sun. "They were still living together when Edo realised after Eugenie's wedding, that he was falling for Bea. Dara did not take the news well, although she has come to terms with the situation now.

"But initially she felt very let-down."

It was revealed in April this year that Edo had moved into Bea's four-bedroom apartment in St James's Palace and that Wolfie was still very much part of Edo's life, with the doting Dad saying, "I take him to school a couple of mornings a week and finish in time to put him in bed three or four evenings."

Let's hope Bea is ready to help with the school run.

 

Dara Huang — Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's ex fiance. Picture: Dara_Huang/Instagram
Dara Huang — Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi's ex fiance. Picture: Dara_Huang/Instagram

 

Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi with an infant Wolfie. Picture: Supplied.
Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi with an infant Wolfie. Picture: Supplied.

 

CRICKET WITH A CONSCIENCE

This should go down a treat with the Queen: for years, Edo has been running his own charity, having founded Cricket Builds Hope with his stepbrother Alby in memory of his late stepfather.

"I saw how sport had the power to bring people together and help share important messages," he has said, whose efforts helped open the Gahanga Cricket Stadium in Kigali 18 months ago.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and freelance writer with 20 years' experience who has written for some of Australia's best print and digital media brands | Continue the conversation @DanielaElser


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