The many sides of Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi
Get to know Princess Beatrice's mysterious husband
With his aristocratic pedigree and tendency only to be seen on the most high profile of occasions, a certain of amount of mystery surrounds Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, Princess Beatrice’s well-put-together and uber-successful husband.
The intrigue started in 2018 when he came onto the scene as the Princess's rumoured boyfriend. Articles headlined "Who is Edoardo?" started popping up, with royal watchers desperate to know more about the British-Italian "nobleman".
It's not that Edo, as he likes to be called, is trying to be elusive. He just doesn't give that many interviews and rarely shares anything about his personal life on his public Instagram account, which boasts 143k followers.
His bio states that he is first and foremost a husband and a dad. He married Beatrice amid the pandemic in 2020 and has two children: a two-year-old daughter Sienna (whose middle name Elizabeth is a nod to the late Queen) whom he had with Beatrice, and a seven-year-old son Christopher (nicknamed Wolfie) whom he shares with his ex-partner Dara Huang.
But Edo is also an undeniable mover and shaker in the property world. He set up his own luxury property development company Banda aged 23, of which he is CEO and creative director, and developed £700 million worth of London property by the age of 30.
On Sunday, Edo celebrated his 40th birthday. I had the pleasure of chatting to his stepfather, the sculptor David Williams-Ellis, ahead of the milestone moment.
David told me: "I think he's handled the spotlight brilliantly. He's an amazingly supportive and strong person in the background and doesn't want to take the front row at all. He's very happy supporting. He's a great character. He's very calm."
The family planned a "small affair" for Edoardo's 40th, out of the public eye. "Beatrice and Edoardo's lives are so busy at the moment," said David, who is married to Edoardo's mother Nikki Williams-Ellis and so has got to know Edoardo very well over the past decade. "Maybe next year when things are a little bit quieter, we might do something else."
During our phone conversation, I quickly saw the different sides of this mysterious character. Edo the family man was the most apparent, but also Edo the romantic, Edo the philanthropist, and Edo the design mogul.
"I think as a father, it's family first for Edo and he's an amazing father to both his children," said David. "I've seen it first-hand from a really good angle. He's brilliant with his children and he adores them naturally like any father. But he gives them a lot of time and a lot of patience, and I think with his busy life it's probably quite difficult sometimes to do that.
"But he's been able to do that and I think, as a couple, both Edo and Beatrice are extraordinary with their children [and] the time and the energy they give to them."
Edo and Beatrice's love story only burgeoned in 2018, a couple of years after the Princess and her boyfriend of 10 years, Dave Clark, split. But she and Edo first crossed paths as teenage family friends.
"When Beatrice first met Edo she was a teenager," said David. "Edo was maybe 18, 19 and probably looking out into the world, which looked rather exciting and glamorous. But I think they formed a bond from quite early on in their lives, which they revisited when they re-met and fell in love.
"Edo is very much in love. He's a kind person and kindness goes a long way in a relationship."
David regaled me with one example of Edo's romanticism. The property developer commissioned his stepfather to cast a statue of the late Queen for Beatrice's birthday in 2019.
"I made it for a project which didn't actually happen, and Edo and Beatrice saw it and fell in love with it and thought that it was the real spirit of the Queen," said David. "It's always odd talking to someone whose grandmother is the Queen and especially when you've done a sculpture of them. Edo decided that he wanted to give one to Beatrice and to give one to the Queen. So he had them commissioned to be cast. They love it."
It's no secret Beatrice looked up to her grandmother with great admiration. She was visibly upset at the late Queen's funeral and in a previous interview with HELLO! said she inspires her "every day".
"I think Beatrice is a very strong person, like her grandmother," David mused. "I think they were very close. Underneath there's a very strong side to her. She has empathy with people and sees their problems very, very quickly and very easily. And it's an attractive and very powerful nature to have."
Edo the property tycoon
"Apart from being an amazing father and an incredibly kind person, Edo also has a great eye for design," said David. "He's an amazing supporter to me. We discuss creative things easily, so I have a close bond with him on that front.
"Like his mother… he's very determined. Banda is a very, very successful business and it's growing and expanding and gaining quite a lot of influence around the world – and doing some beautiful work.
"Even though he's got a big design team, he's very much on top of the brief. He works incredibly hard and has an input on every project, as far as I can see."
Edo the philanthropist
It was also reassuring to hear about Edo's philanthropic side. Alongside his half-brother Alby Shale, the son of the late politician Christopher Shale who died at Glastonbury, Edo co-founded the charity Cricket Builds Hope in his late stepfather's memory.
"Edo and Alby were brought up completely together by Christopher," said David. "They were effectively brothers and Christopher was effectively his father when he was growing up.
"Christopher had been involved in teaching cricket in Rwanda and Edo and Alby used to go out there. And so when he died they wanted to do something, so, along with their mother, they raised a considerable sum of money and built a cricket ground in Rwanda which is now one of the top three cricket grounds outside England. Michael Vaughan (ex-England cricket captain for those unfamiliar!) called it one of the prettiest cricket grounds in the world!
"They had the World Cup qualifying rounds there a few years ago and women's cricket has become a very big thing there. But Cricket Builds Hope has become more than a cricket ground. It's a big educational and social programme in East Africa."
Here's to the next 10 years
David's love and pride for his stepson was clear to hear from the first minute of our phone call when he said, "I'm hugely fond of my stepson." He's got to know Edo well over the past 10 years and has seen him grow in confidence.
So what are David's hopes for his stepson for the next decade? "I hope Edo and Beatrice have a great family. I hope they keep their stability, their sense of spirit. I hope Edo's business progresses and you know, what do we all want? We want happiness and I think the challenges are, for all of us, not dissimilar, but I really hope they have a great time together and I'm sure they will."
And how would David sum up Edo's character? "Generosity of spirit," he said. Here at The HELLO Royal Club we fully endorse this verdict!