Patrons and Governing Body




HRH King Charles III


Diego Paternò Castello di San Giuliano


As a charity the British Institute of Florence has a board of unpaid trustees called Governors who hold the charity in trust, set the strategic direction and appoint the director. 

The following are currently serving as Governors:

Christopher Prentice - Chairman

Christopher worked for 39 years in the UK Foreign Service, before retiring in 2016. His final posting was as Ambassador to Italy for five years. He has been married to Nina since 1978. They have four children and a growing number of grandchildren. Their main home is in Oxfordshire but they also enjoy regular visits to a family home of Nina’s in the Val d’Aosta.

Beatrice Bargagli Stoffi - Deputy Chair

Beartrice works for the Leeu Collection as Office Manager of Leeu Villa Querce. She was previously on the management board for the Mayor’s Office – International and Ceremonial relations – of the Municipality of Florence and she was Head Secretary for the Management Board for Tourism Agency of Florence and Head Secretary to the Minister of Culture and Tourism for the Province of Florence. She founded the Associazione Atelier degli Artigianelli, a cultural association that offers training courses in traditional artisanal crafts and she is the co-founder of the Associazione Amici della Galleria dell'Accademia di Firenze.

Maria Grazia Antoci, TEP

Grazia, a lawyer based in Florence and specialised in international private law, works helping clients with interests spread across the world to solve matters involving different countries and jurisdictions. She has been assisting members of the British Community, living or having interests in Italy, in cross-border legal matters for more than 23 years. Her main areas of work are real estate, estate planning and Wills, administration of estates in cross-border successions, protection of vulnerable  adults and  defense of human rights,  intellectual property law and fashion law. She is a full member of STEP (TEP) that is the global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning; she is also the  coordinator for Tuscany of “Giustizia per i Diritti” a network of lawyers of the association “Cittadinanzattiva”. She was appointed honorary secretary for Tuscany of the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy.

Lady Hannah Lowy Mitchell - Chair of the Fundraising Commitee

Hannah is a documentary film‑maker by profession and has made films for Danish TV, Channel 4 and BBC2. For the past 25 years she has worked primarily in the not-for-profit sector. She is Chair of MGC Futures, which is committed to supporting the next generation of theatre makers. She previously, inter alia, served for 8 years on the Board of The Donmar Warehouse Theatre and for 8 years on the Board of Women for Women International/UK. She has supported many educational charities, women’s rights and arts organisations through her family’s Charitable Foundation. 

James Stewart - Treasurer

James has spent a thirty year career at Schroders, the London-based investment firm, as both an investment and business manager. His first career was in the British Army.  He is an Associate of the CFA Society of the UK and has a Degree in Geography from Durham University.

Luke Syson 

Luke is the fourteenth Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum. From 2012-19, he was Chairman of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where he led on the complete refurbishment of the British Galleries, a $22m project, which opened in March 2020. Luke has held curatorial positions at the British Museum, V&A and the National Gallery – where he led the successful campaign to acquire Raphael’s Madonna of the Pinks for the nation and curated the highly-acclaimed exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci – Painter at the Court of Milan in 2011.

Professor Robin Mason ORB
Professor Robin Mason has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International) at the University of Birmingham since March 2016. A member of the University’s executive, he has responsibility for all aspects of the University’s global engagement. He moved to Birmingham after seven years at the University of Exeter, where he was first Professor of Economics, then appointed Dean of the University’s Business School in 2011, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean in 2015. He had previously been the Eric Roll Professor of Economics and Head of Economics at the University of Southampton. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences; he returned to Cambridge to complete his PhD in Economics.
His academic research concentrates on how firms respond strategically to uncertainty; and, more broadly, the incentives faced by economic agents in situations when they have imperfect information about their environment. (Formally, his area is game theory with incomplete information and learning.) He is the Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK. He is a decision-making Member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal; he has served on the CompetitionCommission/Competition and Markets Authority, and the Financial Conduct Authority. He has acted as advisor to a number of regulators, in both the UK and internationally; to the Prime Minister of Mauritius on competition policy; and to a number of private-sector companies worldwide. He was awarded Order of the Rio Branco (ORB), Officer class, for outstanding contributions in championing academic co-operation between Brazil and the UK.

Ex Officio

The Rt Hon Edward Llewellyn OBE - Honorary President

Edward Llewellyn (Lord Llewellyn of Steep) was appointed His Majesty's Ambassador to the Italian Republic and His Majesty's non-resident Ambassador to the Republic of San Marino in succession to Jill Morris CMG. Ambassador Lewellyn OBE took up his appointment in February 2022.

Brian Young

Brian Young graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a bachelor’s degree in Historical Studies. He subsequently gained a postgraduate qualification in teaching English as a foreign language and worked in several countries in Europe before starting his career with the British Council as an English teacher in Venezuela. He took on further teaching roles with the British Council in Portugal, Thailand and Colombia before studying further postgraduate qualifications in marketing and management. A subsequent move to Barcelona, Spain saw him take on a senior role at the Young Learner teaching centre Spain before moving to Saudi Arabia, where he was Deputy Country Exams Manager based in Al Khobar. More recently he has completed postings as Country Director in Rwanda and Mexico before moving to his current role as Country Director Italy.

Alessandra Petrucci - Rector, University of Florence 

Honorary Life Governors

Michael Griffiths OBE

Michael was Managing Partner in Italy of Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson) an international firm of actuarial consultants before retiring in 2003. He has lived in in Florence since 1978 and was President of the British Chamber of Commerce for Italy from 1993 to 1997.