Oscar-winning actor will continue to be based in London as officials in Rome confirm he now holds dual nationality
Many of the threats and promises exchanged during the row over Brexit have yet to be tested by time, but this weekend at least one has come to pass. The Oscar-winning film actor and producer Colin Firth, unmoved by Theresa Mays pronouncements in Florence, has accepted Italian citizenship, according to the Italian interior ministry in Rome.
It was reported in May that the actor had made a formal application for Italian citizenship in response to the vote to leave the European Union, while last year Firths apparent opposition to the referendum result was noted in an Austrian newspaper.
He was said to have described Brexit as a disaster of unexpected proportions. The actors agent said that the decision to apply for a new passport at the Italian embassy in London had been a family decision. He would not confirm that it had anything to do with Brexit.
Colin applied for dual citizenship [British and Italian] in order to have the same passports as his wife and children, the agent said.
The 56-year-old star came to fame as Jane Austens aloof Mr Darcy, the epitome of the reticent English aristocrat, in an acclaimed 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. But from now on Firth is officially as Italian as spaghetti carbonara.
The very famous actor, who won an Oscar for the film The Kings Speech, is married to a citizen from our country and has often declared his love for our land, the Italian interior ministry said.
Firth, who grew up and went to school in Hampshire, has been married to the Italian environmental campaigner, fashion entrepreneur and film producer Livia Giuggioli since 1997. The couple live in Chiswick, London, with their two sons Luca, 16, and Matteo, 13.
Since Italy is one of the few European countries that allows dual nationality, Firth is expected to keep his British passport as well as a home in this country.
Firth and Giuggioli, 47, also have a house near the town of Citt della Pieve in Umbria and the actor speaks good Italian. His 2008 film Genova, directed by Michael Winterbottom, told of a widower who falls in love first with Italy and then with an Italian woman. The actor, who has also appeared in the hit films The English Patient, Bridget Joness Diary, Love, Actually and Shakespeare in Love, is currently promoting his new film Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a sequel to the ironic, action-packed 2015 hit.
Since the Brexit decision, a growing number of Britons have applied for citizenship in EU countries, with Irish applications exceeding all others. Any Briton born in the Irish Republic or Northern Ireland, or with an Irish parent or grandparent, is entitled to an Irish passport and it is thought six million could be eligible.
May went out of her way in Florence to pledge that hundreds of thousands of Italians living in the UK would retain their full rights.
Yesterday, Colin Firth said in a statement: A connection with Italy has existed in my family for more than two decades now. I was married there and had two children born in Rome. My wife and I are both extremely proud of our own countries. We feel that weve made a gift of that to each other.
Our children have been dual citizens since the beginning. We never really thought much about our different passports. But now, with some of the uncertainty around, we thought it sensible that we should all get the same. Livia is applying for a British passport.
I will always be extremely British (you only have to look at or listen to me). Britain is our home and we love it here. Despite the enticements of my profession to relocate to more remunerative climes Ive always chosen to base my career out of the UK and pay my taxes here. That hasnt changed.
I married into Italy (and anyone will tell you when you marry an Italian you dont just marry one person; you marry a family and perhaps an entire country). Like almost everybody I have a passionate love of Italy and joining my kids in being dual citizens will be a huge privilege.