The 59-year-old likely skipped the party due to the ongoing controversy surrounding his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, People magazine reported Thursday. However, Andrew did attend his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s annual Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace that afternoon. Beatrice, as well as her sister Princess Eugenie, were in attendance.
The engagement party, which was thrown by Mozzi’s mother at Chiltern Firehouse, had plenty of celebrity guests. According to People, Beatrice’s pal, singer Ellie Goulding was present, along with Kate Middleton’s siblings Pippa and James Middleton. Both also came with their significant others.
Beatrice, 31, and Mozzi, 36, announced their engagement and plans to marry in 2020 in September of this year. People said the multi-millionaire property tycoon proposed during a trip to Italy. The ceremony is expected to take place in early summer. An announcement on the exact date will ideally come in January after the U.K.’s general election.
“We are extremely happy to be able to share the news of our recent engagement,” the couple said in a statement. “We are both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together and can’t wait to be married. We share so many similar interests and values, and we know that this will stand us in great stead for the years ahead, full of love and happiness.”
Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson released a joint statement after the announcement of their daughter's engagement.
“We are thrilled that Beatrice and Edoardo have got engaged, having watched their relationship develop with pride,” Beatrice’s parents said. “We are the lucky parents of a wonderful daughter who has found her love and companion in a completely devoted friend and a loyal young man. We send them every good wish for a wonderful family future.”
Following a disastrous interview with the BBC about his relationship with Epstein, Andrew revealed in November that he asked the queen if he can “step back” from his public duties.
“It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein have become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organizations and charities that I am proud to support,” said a statement posted to the royal family’s Twitter account.
“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission," he said.
The statement concluded: "I continued to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathize with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
Andrew was interviewed by BBC Newsnight's Emily Maitlis about his involvement with Epstein, a sit-down many agree was a total public relations disaster for the Duke of York.
Many in the media were quick to deride Andrew for not only defending his friendship with Epstein but for failing to show empathy for the convicted sex offender’s victims.
Virginia Roberts, now Virginia Giuffre, has said Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001 when she was 17. She said Epstein flew her around the world on private planes to have sex with powerful men, and that she had sexual encounters with Prince Andrew in London, New York and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"It didn't happen. I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened. I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," the Duke of York said during the interview.
Giuffre had recently challenged the British royal to speak out, telling reporters in New York “he knows exactly what he’s done.”
“And the answer is nothing,” Andrew told the BBC.
Epstein, 66, died in jail on Aug. 10 while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges that prosecutors alleged involved many girls over several years in the early 2000s.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.