How Beatrice the Contessa is marrying into a family much posher than her own

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.

For Edo's pedigree stretches back all the way to the 10th Century and means that the union will not only hand Beatrice a set of ancient Italian titles to add to her Royal designations, but will allow her to inherit one of the grandest villas in .

Now Edo's father, Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, has spoken for the first time since the couple announced their engagement in September to reveal that the will allow Beatrice to style herself as an Italian 'Contessa' and 'Nobile Donna', or noble woman.

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi pose together in Italy after their engagement was announced

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi pose together in after their engagement was announced

It means that Beatrice and Edo, 36, the count's eldest son, will also inherit the family's ancestral seat, the 18th Century neoclassical-style Villa Mapelli Mozzi, in northern .

The nine-bedroom palazzo, an hour from Milan, is used by the family as a summer residence and is surrounded by four acres of parkland.

For those who wish to take a closer look – and have the deep pockets to suit – the villa is available for holiday rentals on the website Booking for £14,700 for a week in May.

If the marriage appears to have all the features of a fairy tale romance, in truth there have been some bumps along the way.

For a start, Count Alessandro, 68, has revealed he is yet to meet his future daughter-in-law. The groom already has a three-year-old son, Wolfie, with his former girlfriend Dara Huang. And who could forget that the bride's father, Prince Andrew, has suffered a very public fall from grace, one which is said to have caused the to be delayed?

But this is of no matter to the count, who declares he is very much looking forward to the marriage – and to a new chapter in the noble history of the family.

'They are very suited to each other and have known each other for a long time,' he told The Mail on Sunday. 'I've never seen him so happy.

Beatrice and Edo, 36, will inherit his family's ancestral seat, the 18th Century neoclassical-style Villa Mapelli Mozzi, in northern Italy

Beatrice and Edo, 36, will inherit his family's ancestral seat, the 18th Century neoclassical-style Villa Mapelli Mozzi, in northern

Edo's father, Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, represented Britain at the Olympics as a skier (pictured in 1972)

Edo's father, Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, represented Britain at the Olympics as a skier (pictured in 1972)

'Edoardo is the only male descendent taking the family into the next generation. He is a count – his wife will be a countess automatically and any of their children will be counts or nobile donna.'

The ceremony, set for the end of May, will be low-key by Royal standards. The Chapel Royal can seat only 150 guests, but the reception will be held at Buckingham Palace. It is expected that the Queen and the most senior members of the Royal Family will be in attendance. Both Princess Beatrice and her sister Eugenie are close to their cousins William and Harry – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex all attended Eugenie's 2018 to Jack Brooksbank.

The Mapelli Mozzis have enviable credentials of their own, as the count explains: 'The family boasts eight ambassadors, 15 judges, 29 doctors of law, two bishops, ten abbots, 91 councillors, many knights, six captains, five doctors, 21 writers and poets, 59 notaries, five goldsmiths…'

There are more recent claims to fame. The count skied for Britain at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Japan and met Beatrice's mother, the Duchess of York, in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier when she was dating racing driver Paddy McNally, before her marriage to Prince Andrew.

The groom already has a three-year-old son, Wolfie, with his former girlfriend Dara Huang (pictured in Malta)

The groom already has a three-year-old son, Wolfie, with his former girlfriend Dara Huang (pictured in Malta)

Later, the Duchess was named godmother to Edo's half-brother Alby, now 29, from his mother's second marriage. It means Edo, a successful property developer, has known Beatrice all his life. Among those expected to attend the are Edo's stepfather, David Williams-Ellis, a celebrated sculptor who is married to Edo's mother Nikki Burrows, and his uncle Mark Wiggin, a senior director at estate agency Strutt & Parker, who lives in the 18th Century Grade II-listed Downton Hall in Ludlow.

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 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

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