Rome’s interior ministry has announced that Colin Firth is now an Italian citizen, after the Remain-backing actor was left “horrified” at Britain’s vote to leave the European Union (EU).
“Brexit is a disaster of unexpected proportions that does not have a single positive outlook,” the Pride and Prejudice actor told an Austrian newspaper.
“Many colleagues, including Emma Thompson, are, like me, enthusiastic Europeans, and we still cannot believe it.”
In a statement, Italy’s interior ministry said: “The celebrated actor, who received an Oscar for his work in the film The King’s Speech has married a citizen of our nation and has repeatedly expressed his love for our country.”
Whilst his spokesman said Firth chose to apply for dual British-Italian citizenship in order to have “the same passports as his wife and children”, a source revealed that the decision was driven by the actor’s distaste at Britain leaving the EU.
“Colin was horrified by Brexit and is worried about the consequences,” the source told Daily Mail Diary editor Sebastian Shakespeare in May.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 16, 2016
Firth is married to Italian Livia Giuggioli, speaks the language fluently, and spends a lot of his time in the country, where the family has a holiday home in Umbria.
The 57-year-old, who is famous for playing English literary roles and appearing in period dramas, has previously said he does not consider himself rooted in Britain.
“I don’t feel planted here,” Firth told Hollywood Reporter magazine in 2010, adding that he does not believe the English gentleman stereotype “exists except in the roles I play”.
Home Office figures this week revealed that applications for British citizenship from Germans, French, Italians, and other countries which comprised the 14 original countries in the EU have more than trebled since the year before the referendum.
Citizenship requests from the eight eastern European countries who joined the EU in 2004 were higher than those of the EU 14 countries before the Brexit vote, but have now been overtaken by applications from the bloc’s original member states.
Madeleine Sumption, director of Oxford University’s Migration Observatory told the Financial Times: “We don’t know from the data what’s determining people applying for citizenship, but EU14 nationals tend to be wealthier and many more of them have been students in the UK so their language skills may be better than among the EU8.”