How Beatrice the Contessa is marrying into a family much posher than her own: Princess, 31, will gain an Italian title and a palazzo... but why hasn't she met her future father-in-law yet?
Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi are set to tie the knot this Spring. Now Edo's father, Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, has spoken on the marriage. He says the wedding will allow Beatrice to style herself as an Italian 'Contessa'. Beatrice and Edo, 36, count's eldest son, will also inherit family's ancestral seat.
When he walks back up the aisle of the Chapel Royal at St James's this spring, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi will have one of the most eligible women in Europe by his side.
For his bride, Princess Beatrice – the elder daughter of the Duke of York and ninth in line to the Throne – the nuptials will be an equally glorious moment. There is no doubt that handsome Edoardo, known as Edo, is a good match for the 31-year-old Princess, with his multi-million-pound fortune and debonair Latin charm.
What is perhaps less well known is that Beatrice is following the most traditional route for Royal marriages by uniting two of the oldest families in Europe. According to historical records, the count's family dates back to 985AD, a time when King Ethelred II was on the throne of England.
'We as a family celebrated 1,000 years in 1985 with unbroken documented archives,' the count says proudly. 'We are one of the only families in Italy to have all the records from that period to today.'
There is such a long bloodline that a distant cousin, Carlotta Mapelli Mozzi Parodi, published a book about the family to celebrate its millennium. Entitled La Famiglia Mapelli Mozzi, it describes how two families derived their names from the towns of Mozzi and Mapelli, ten miles from Bergamo.
The former landowners began a 'rapid social and economic ascent' in the 12th Century through trade and banking, flourishing in the 13th Century as they became some of the most successful merchants in Europe. By 1270, they owned 'majestic palaces' such as the Mozzi Palace in Florence, where Pope Gregory X was lodged three years later.