Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi announced their engagement last week. The pair are expected to tie the knot in a royal wedding scheduled for 2020, and reports indicate that the princess is also keen to start a family with her husband-to-be. Edoardo, or Edo as he is known to friends, is a property developer whose family have been close friends with the Duke and Duchess of York for some time.
However, the British-born businessman has a hereditary claim to an Italian aristocratic title.
Edo is the son of British-Italian Olympic alpine skier Conte Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, and as such could himself be called Conte, the Italian equivalent of Count.
He cannot claim the title in the UK, due to a law that prevents foreign nobility claiming titles without a special warrant.
However, Beatrice’s husband-to-be cannot claim the title in Italy either, due to the country’s tumultuous history during and after World War II and the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.
Mussolini, under pressure from Hitler, agreed to set up a new republic – called the Italian Social Republic – in 1943, which was effectively a puppet-state in control of Germany.
Under the Republic, the monarchy and aristocracy were nominally abolished.
The Republic only lasted until the end of the war in 1945, however the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III faced a huge public backlash for his former support for Mussolini’s Fascist regime.
Although he abdicated, making way for his son Umberto II, the Italian people voted in a 1946 referendum to return to a state of republicanism.
Edoardo’s claim to the title of Conte goes all the way back to his great-grandfather Conte Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, who was given the title in 1913.
Before this, his family were “nobili”, or noblemen, which was a more minor title.
The family’s ancestral seat is the Villa Mapelli Mozzi, near Ponte San Pietro in the Bergamo region of Italy.
The villa, which dates back to 1770, remains the property of the Mapelli Mozzi family.