Showing posts with label Aristocracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aristocracy. Show all posts

18 August 2021

Beatrice Borromeo - journalist and model

Glamorous aristocrat who specialises in gritty real-life stories

Beatrice Borromeo built a career as a hard-hitting news journalist
Beatrice Borromeo built a career as a
hard-hitting news journalist
The journalist Beatrice Borromeo, a descendant of one of Italy’s oldest aristocratic families and married to a member of the Monegasque royal family, was born on this day in 1985 in Innichen in the German-speaking province of South Tyrol in northeast Italy.

Although born into wealthy high society, Borromeo was driven by her political and humanitarian beliefs from an early age, taking part in demonstrations in Milan against the government of Silvio Berlusconi in her teenage years and deciding to pursue a career in journalism, working full time for the Italian daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

Since marrying long-time boyfriend Pierre Casiraghi - grandson of Prince Rainier III and the actress Grace Kellyand having two children, she has devoted much of her energy towards making documentary films, but always on hard-hitting topics such as climate refugees, the women of ‘Ndrangheta - the Calabrian mafia - and the slum children of Caivano, an impoverished area northeast of Naples.

Her looks and family connections have also helped her to have a parallel career in modelling, in her early days as a catwalk model for high-end fashion houses and more recently as the face of Italian jewellery house Buccellati and as the 2021 Dior ambassador.

Beatrice’s father is Carlo Ferdinando Borromeo, Count of Arona, through whom she is descended from the 16th century Archbishop of Milan, Charles (Carlo) Borromeo, a leading Catholic figure who led the movement to combat the spread of Protestantism and after his death in 1584 was made a saint.

Beatrice was in demand as a model for
Milan's top fashion houses
Her mother is Countess Donna Paola Marzotto, the daughter of fashion designer Marta Marzotto. Her uncle, Count Matteo Marzotto, is the former president and director of the Valentino fashion house.

A measure of the Borromeo family’s wealth is that they own most of the Borromean Islands in Lago Maggiore and many other estates in Lombardy and Piedmont.

Eligible and beautiful, Beatrice could have led the life of a socialite before settling into a suitable marriage but instead went on from high school to obtain a law degree at the Bocconi University in Milan before studying for a Masters in Journalism at Columbia University in New York, where she graduated in 2012.

By then she was already a working journalist, writing for Newsweek magazine and the American news website Daily Beast, contributing to TV shows including the Rai Due current affairs talk show Anno Zero and hosting her own weekly radio show.

Her journalistic scoops included an exclusive interview with Roberto Saviano, whose Mafia exposé Gomorrah had forced him to go into hiding, and, while working as a reporter for Il Fatto Quotidiano, and an interview with Marco dell’Utri, a co-founder of Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, in which he admitted entering politics in the hope of obtaining immunity from arrest on various criminal charges.

She also wrote a story revealing that Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, the only son of Umberto II, the last King of Italy, had admitted in a recorded conversation that he was guilty of a murder of which he had been cleared in a Paris court.  The prince sued Borromeo’s newspaper but a court judgment ruled in favour of the newspaper.

Beatrice Borromeo with the Monaco royal Pierre Casiraghi at their wedding in 2015
Beatrice Borromeo with the Monaco royal
Pierre Casiraghi at their wedding in 2015
Her television documentary work has involved topics such as drug trafficking, underage prostitution, toxic waste dumping by the Camorra in the Naples area, and forced child marriage in the developing world.

In an interview with the magazine Glamour, Borromeo said that her interests had expanded from politics and corruption to numerous causes around the world, explaining that she was “afraid of wasting my life in doing things that help only myself.”

“I don't want to go away from this earth without having improved at least a couple of lives,” she said.

She admitted she spent much of her working life dressed in jeans and T-shirts, or a jacket and trousers if interviewing a politician face to face, yet her wedding to Casiraghi, the younger son of Caroline, Princess of Hanover, was anything but low key. 

After a civil ceremony in July, 2015, in the gardens of the Prince's Palace of Monaco, they were joined in a religious ceremony a few days later on Isola Bella, one of the Borromean Islands in Lago Maggiore.

The media coverage of the event made much of Beatrice having four bridal dresses - a pale pink, gold laced Valentino dress for the civil ceremony at the Prince’s Palace, a long-sleeved bohemian gown by Valentino at a rehearsal for the religious ceremony, an ivory-laced Armani Privé gown for the Isola Bella service itself, and an Armani Privé silk tulle gown in glistening white for the reception.

She and Casiraghi have two children - Stefano (born February 2017) and Francesco (born. May 2018).

The colossal Sancarlone statue outside Arona
The colossal Sancarlone
statue outside Arona
Travel tip:

Beatrice’s father inherited the title of Count of Arona, the town on Lago Maggiore that was the birthplace of Saint Charles Borromeo. Situated in the province of Novara on the Piedmont side of the lake, around 70km (43 miles) northwest of Milan, it is a popular destination for tourists. One of its main sights is the Sancarlone, a giant statue of Saint Charles Borromeo made from bronze. It is second in size only to the Statue of Liberty and is believed to have been looked at by the architects of the Statue of Liberty when they were producing their own design. Built on a hill overlooking the lake near the ancestral castle of the Borromeo family, it was designed by Giovan Battista Crespi and stands 23.5m (77ft) tall on a granite pedestal measuring 11.5m (38ft). A series of narrow stairs and ladders on the inside allows visitors to peer through the eyes and ears.

Isola Bella, with is elaborate palace and gardens, is an island in Lago Maggiore
Isola Bella, with is elaborate palace and
gardens, is an island in Lago Maggiore
Travel tip:

Until 1632, Isola Bella - 320m long by 400m wide - was a rocky outcrop in Lago Maggiore about 400m offshore from the town of Stresa, occupied only by a tiny fishing village. It was in that year that Carlo III of Borromeo decided it would be home to a palace dedicated to his wife, Isabella D'Adda, and commissioned the Milan architect Angelo Crivelli to build it. Carlo III did not live to see the palace finished after a devastating outbreak of the plague caused construction to be halted. It was completed instead by his sons, Gilberto III and Vitaliano VI, with the help of another Milanese architect, Carlo Fontana.  The palace, with its adjoining terraced gardens, became a place of sumptuous parties and theatrical events for the nobility of Europe.

Also on this day:

1497: The birth of lute player and composer Francesco Canova da Milano

1750: The birth of composer Antonio Salieri

1943: The birth of footballer and politician Gianni Rivera

1954: The birth of astronaut Umberto Guidoni