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Princess Perfect: How Beatrice is turning into a most unusual young royal

Luffy | Saturday, November 24, 2007 | 0 comments
Partying with Kate Moss. Going on the pull with mum. Who would ever have imagined that out of the dysfunctional Royal Family, the parents who would produce the most poised and promising member of the new generation would be the divorced Duke and Duchess of York?

Stepping out into the night - and even brushing alongside the questionable company of party-queens like Kate Moss - she never varied.

The smile was attractively uncertain, the manner polite, the personal control absolute - not bad for a girl of 19.

Who would ever have imagined that out of the dysfunctional Royal Family, the parents who would produce-the most poised and promising-member of the new generation would be the divorced Duke and Duchess of York?

From clubland to dowagers' drawing rooms there is no greater surprise in London society than the mark that Fergie and Andrew's elder daughter Princess Beatrice has made.

Just a moment ago, or so it seems, she was dating the louche Paolo Liuzzo, a drug-taking Italian-American eight years her senior who once faced a lengthy prison sentence after being charged with manslaughter - later reduced to assault and battery.

Paolo lined his pockets with the money from a seedy kiss-and-tell about his months with the teenage Princess, who was only 17.

Today it's as though that ghastly episode never happened. What has emerged is the brightest of the young royals - in her A-levels at St George's, Ascot, where she was head girl, she got an A in drama and Bs in history and film studies - this despite having dyslexia.

And her boyfriend is the eminently clean-cut businessman's son David Clark, 25, a St Andrews university friend of Prince William, who works for Richard Branson and whose American family live in Hampstead.

Clark, who works in marketing at Branson's space tourism project Virgin Galactic, took her last weekend to former Hollyoaks actress Davinia Taylor's 30th birthday party in the Colour Rooms in edgy Shoreditch, East London.

She found herself among an A-list of hard-partying creatures including Moss, Sienna Miller, Jade Jagger, Naomi Campbell, Kelly Osbourne and Meg Matthews, all part of the outrageous Primrose Hill mob.

She wasn't even properly dressed - the party had an "Eighties rave" theme but Beatrice was, somewhat demurely, in a floral jacket, jeans and pashmina.

How did she cope with this fashion faux pas? "Without a care in the world," says one of the partygoers. "She never lost her poise for a moment. And you could tell that in such company she was just a 'tourist', not one of the crowd."
On the town: Princess Beatrice with boyfriend Dave Clark on their way to a party where guests included Kate Moss

She looked equally out of place in Ugg boots at Soho House earlier this week when friends took her to the media watering hole, and she was seen alone on the stairs, taking a break from the crowd.

Such sang-froid and lack of interest in hard drinking - so unlike her much noisier cousins William and Harry - comes as a pleasant surprise from a girl whose parents split up when she was only four years old.

Her achievement in growing into a young lady of whom her grandmother the Queen is said to be "hugely proud" must be measured against the riotous background that has often been provided by both her mother and father.

Beatrice, who is fifth in line to the throne, spent much of her growing-up years with her high-octane, unpredictable mother.

It is, perhaps, understandable, that with Fergie interminably crisscrossing the globe, Beatrice was happiest at school when she became a boarder.

Even so, she could not have avoided learning of the crises that Fergie went through involving both men and money, nor the embarrassment of her father's skirt-chasing.
Role model: Beatrice with Fergie

And yet, as one of the Duke's oldest friends says: "When you meet Bea these days you'd think she was the product of the most loving and stable of marriages, not from a broken home where her paternal grandfather (Prince Philip) refuses to have anything to do with her mother."

Just for once, people they know actually find themselves praising Andrew and Fergie for the way they have maintained a sense of "family" even though divorced.

"What they've achieved - with Eugenie as well as Beatrice - is an object lesson for millions of divorced couples," says one senior courtier.

The most obvious example of the togetherness that the Yorks have achieved was when Beatrice was given an 18th birthday ball at Windsor Castle.

The gold-embossed invitations sent out to more than 500 family and friends said that their hosts were "HRH The Duke of York and the Duchess of York" - only the missing HRH before Fergie's title was the give-away that the parents were no longer together.

It explains a touching belief which, according to friends, has always sustained the two teenage princesses, that despite their divorce their parents have never stopped being in love.

Beatrice is sophisticated enough to be amused at how seriously some people took it when her mother proclaimed that she liked to go out "on the pull" with her elder daughter.
Sister chic: The princess with Eugenie (right) at the Queen and Prince Philip's diamond wedding anniversary this week

The remark emerged when Fergie was proudly explaining how close she and Beatrice were. And they are close - close enough for the young princess to return the compliment by declaring in an interview with a magazine that she so admired her mother that she wanted to be a "minimummy".

Friends say her mother "remains her No. 1 role model" because whatever holes Fergie sank into in the past, she has dug herself out of, both with men and her £4million overdraft with Coutts.

"Bea admires the way her mother has beaten off her critics and taken control of her own life and wants to do the same," says the family friend. "She and her sister both know that being HRHs no longer means that much and want to make their own way in the world, just like Mummy, as it were."

The fact is, Beatrice's recent London partying was just a short break from gap year travels in South America, which she embarked on to "get completely away".

She came home from Brazil for her grandparents' diamond wedding celebrations and cousin Peter Phillips's 30th birthday.

She is, it must be said, strikingly like her mother, with the same sense of fun, a biggish personality, and just like the Weight Watchers ambassador, Beatrice's weight, says a friend, "is an issue".

Now she is flying out to Argentina where she will stay on the ranch that her mother inherited from her own mother Susan Barrantes.

She is with childhood friend Nikolai von Bismarck, also 19 - greatgreat grandson of Prince Otto von Bismarck, Prussia's Iron Chancellor - with whom she has already trekked the Inca trail through the Andes.
Film star: Bea filming a role as an extra in The Young Victoria earlier this year

She is also planning a field trip with one of her mother's charities and hopes to spend some time in New York doing work experience in the fashion and media industries.

At the end of her gap year she intends to go to university - both Edinburgh and Goldsmiths college in South-East London, which specialises in the creative arts, are on her shortlist.

"Bea doesn't want to make the same mistakes as her mother," says a family friend. "She is very aware of her family responsibilities. But she doesn't want to live like a princess. She wants to stand on her own two feet."

Unlike William and Harry, she will not have a formal role in royal life and is casting round for a fulfilling - and fulltime - career.

"It will not be a pretend sinecure like Kate Middleton's at Jigsaw,' says one of her mother's friends. 'Whatever she does, it will be a proper job."
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