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Friends tell of devastation at death of 'wonderful' Italian prince, who died after being hit by lorry while cycling in Knightsbridge

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 2/11/2016 Sophia Sleigh, Josephine McKenna in Florence

<span style="font-size:13px;">Filippo Corsini, heir to a Florentine noble family, was today named as the cyclist killed in Knightsbridge</span> © Provided by Independent Print Limited Filippo Corsini, heir to a Florentine noble family, was today named as the cyclist killed in Knightsbridge An Italian prince who became the eighth cyclist killed on London’s streets this year was “unique, full of energy with an infectious smile”, his devastated friends and family said today.

Filippo Corsini, 21, died of “catastrophic injuries” after he was dragged 30 yards by a lorry across a box junction in Knightsbridge on Monday.

The student, who was heir to a noble family in Florence, was hit by the HGV outside luxury department store Harvey Nichols near the exclusive One Hyde Park development at 12.40pm.

Dozens of friends left flowers and notes at the scene including his London-based housemate Guccio Gucci Ludolf.

Mr Gucci Ludolf, a member of the Gucci fashion house dynasty, wrote: “You are unique, I never knew a person so full of energy, always smiling and ready to make others laugh.

<span style="font-size:13px;">Filippo Corsini</span> © Provided by Independent Print Limited Filippo Corsini “Without you the house is empty. You died in a second and you were gone. It happened so fast that I didn’t want to believe it in front of the police officer. 

“We were together for so much time and despite all our fights I am laughing with a sadness that will never end.

“You are the friend that was always able to make me laugh with your generosity and kindness. I will miss you so much.”

Another friend said Filo had recently released his own Tuscan wine called Fico.

She said: “He loved cycling and he would cycle every day to university whatever the weather.

<span style="font-size:13px;">He was killed by the lorry while cycling to a university class</span> © Provided by Independent Print Limited He was killed by the lorry while cycling to a university class “He was a wonderful person and he always wanted to have some big plans for the future. He was very independent and ambitious.

“He was very happy here in London and he had just created a website for his new wine Fico which was Tuscan.”

The young aristocrat was cycling to a class at Regent’s University London, where he was studying for a BA in International Business, when he was killed.

Friends said his parents Duccio and Clothilde are so devastated they have been unable to leave their family home on a Tuscan estate south of Florence.

However, one of his two sisters and an aunt is expected to travel to the UK in the next few days. 

His friends were holding a memorial mass at Brompton Oratory in Kensington this morning.

Mr Corsini was an accomplished equestrian and showjumper.

One of Italy’s top equestrians Alberto Violante recalled his friend’s passion for the sport and love for his favourite horse Claretta Bella.

Mr Violante told the Standard: “Filippo was one of those guys that every time you saw him you couldn’t help but smile, it was enough to exchange a few words.

“He could change the worst day into something positive.

“Filippo and I knew each other through our horse riding and we grew up together. We grew up together and I will miss him very much.”

Mr Corsini’s family can be traced back to the Middle Ages and made its fortune in merchant banking in the 16th century.

Their family tree includes Pope Clemente XII, who ruled from 1730 to 1740, founding Rome’s Capitoline Museums and commissioning the Trevi Fountain.

Princess Sabina Corsini, his aunt, told the Times: “What everyone remembers about him is his immense energy and smile. He was a very jolly young man.”

She said Mr Corsini had a long-standing girlfriend in Florence and added: “It’s devastating news for her.”

Lamberto Frescobaldi, a family friend from another prominent Florence noble family who heads his family’s wine business, said he heard the “terrible news” while travelling in Hong Kong.

He said: “He had such an infectious smile. Duccio and Clothilde are such special, sensitive people. I don’t know how they will ever get over this.”

The 42-year-old lorry driver stopped at the scene and arrested on suspicion of death by careless driving. He has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in early December.

Fellow Italian, waitress Lucia Ciccioli, was killed last Monday in a rush hour crash with a lorry in Battersea.

Last night more than 100 cyclists staged a “die in” protest at the scene and called on Mayor Sadiq Khan to bring forward plans to ban dangerous lorries from London’s streets.

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