Duchess of York Approves of Daughter's Boyfriend

Duchess of York Approves of Daughter's Boyfriend
Sarah Ferguson (left) and daughter Princess Beatrice
Hamish Blair/Getty

11/06/2008 AT 03:40 PM EST

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has a nickname for her daughter Beatrice's American boyfriend, Dave Clark.

"I call him Mr. Smiley," she tells PEOPLE, "because he smiles and he's happy. I love Dave. He's cool."

Fergie joined Beatrice, 20, Wednesday at the Virgin Unite's 'Through the Looking Glass' charity fundraising evening event in London, along with Kelly Rowland and mogul Richard Branson.

Fergie is a big fan of Clark – he works for Branson's Virgin Galactic space venture – not just for his grin, but because he's a good guy.

"I'm really proud that he's with Beatrice," she tells PEOPLE. "Beatrice is so special, it takes someone very nice to be with her – to appreciate how good she is."

Fergie and Beatrice recently returned from a trip to Romania, filming a documentary for Britain's ITV1 about the condition of orphanages in the country.

"It's an experience very difficult to put into words," Beatrice tells PEOPLE. "Because I've been there, I know in my heart – everyday I wake up and everyday I smile, I think, 'How lucky am I?'"

Back in Britain, Beatrice, now a freshman in London, calls college "a lot of fun," she tells PEOPLE. "Every day's a new experience."

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