Dave Clark’s split with Princess Beatrice is being talked up as temporary by some of her friends—but sources tell The Daily Beast that Clark is very much set to move on from the 10-year relationship.
News of the split only emerged this weekend, although it is believed the decision to part ways was made as much as a month ago after Beatrice gave her former beau an ultimatum to propose or walk—and he chose the latter.
Beatrice, who recently turned 28, was keen to marry (as have many of her friends in recent years) but Clark, 32, was clearly more ambivalent.
“To be honest, it caught us by surprise,” said one acquaintance of Clark’s of the separation. “I always thought it was hard to see how Dave could not marry her as they had been together so long.”
Adding to Clark’s decision was the fact that Prince William and many members of the extended family have made no secret of the fact that they do not like or trust him. Clark is a capable and popular guy well known among his friends for being a catch—he may be forgiven for asking himself if he needed the grief of marrying a Windsor.
Ironically enough, it is William who first introduced Dave to Bea. He got to know him at St Andrew’s University and was at first taken by the American’s friendly and outgoing manner.
However, William subsequently came to believe Clark to be “indiscreet”—the worst of crimes in William’s eyes—and pointedly did not invite him to his wedding.
However, people who know Clark speak of a warm and amenable character who has never sought to trade off his royal connections.
Clark, the son of wealthy corporate lawyer, has had a stellar career, first in finance, then at Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and now with Uber.
He started off in the ride-sharing behemoth’s London office but relocated to New York last year.
Rather than sign up for a long-distance relationship, Beatrice went with Clark in a clear sign of her devotion. Her parents were big fans of Clark, and, at her father’s urging, Bea took a business course in San Francisco, where Uber has its headquarters, before taking an investment banking job in Manhattan when Dave relocated there.
It has been reported Beatrice left the company a month ago, around the time she and Clark split. There has been some dispute as to whether she was “let go” or left voluntarily.
However, having built a new life in New York, she plans to continue to be based in the city and is now reportedly working with friends to establish a business consultancy service.
Beatrice has been widely portrayed as a dilettante in the British press, with the Daily Mail calculating that between December 2014 and December 2015 the princess “racked up 18 foreign jaunts including a trip on Roman Abramovich’s £1.5 billion super-yacht in Ibiza.”
The subtext was always that she was simply killing time waiting for a proposal. And the reason for the delay was often attributed to the fact that prior to the birth of Princess Charlotte, Beatrice was sixth in line to the throne and technically needed to seek permission from the queen before accepting a proposal of marriage (although most palace sources say it is nonsense to imagine the queen would ever have blocked Beatrice from marrying her choice of suitor after witnessing firsthand the disastrous results of royal interference in the marriages of Princess Margaret and Prince Charles).
It seems that instead a more prosaic reason was to blame: Clark simply wasn’t ready. And so although after Charlotte’s birth it was widely assumed that Clark would propose, he never did. And now he never will.