Meet the whole Team

Marriage Foundation is made up of a strong and committed team who are unswerving in their passion to champion marriage for the good of society …especially our children.  We are grateful for the support we receive from our esteemed patrons.  Our advisory board of highly motivated and passionate individuals offer us strategic advice drawn from their years of professional experience in the field of marriage and relationships.

Team Members

Sir Paul Coleridge

Chairman of Marriage Foundation

Sir Paul Coleridge was a High Court judge in the Family Court from 2000 to 2014. For the thirty years prior to that, he was a family law specialist barrister (Queens Counsel) with a practice in London and internationally.  In 2012, Sir Paul founded Marriage Foundation as a response to the family destruction he had witnessed in the family courts and in order to provide a prominent voice in support of marriage in the public arena. In order to devote all his efforts to that, he resigned as a judge in 2014 so he could speak out more freely.

Since 2008, Sir Paul has lectured and spoken to universities, political groups and charities on dozens of occasions in the UK, Europe and Australia on the subject of family life, family law and family breakdown. He has also spoken at Marriage Foundation conferences on family breakdown and related issues. He has been involved in numerous interviews and discussions on BBC radio and TV on family, legal and similar issues.

Paul has been married for 44 years and has 3 adult married children and 7 grandchildren.

Harry Benson

Research Director of Marriage Foundation

Harry Benson is one of Britain’s leading champions for marriage. His research findings for Marriage Foundation are routinely cited in the media and by politicians and have made front page news on several occasions. Formerly one of the youngest Royal Navy helicopter pilots to serve in the Falklands war, Harry has spent the last twenty years researching, writing and teaching about marriage and family. As founder of a Bristol charity, he taught hundreds of relationship courses to thousands of couples, including ‘Let’s Stick Together’, a pioneering short programme for new parents evaluated by the Department for Education and delivered mainly through NHS post-natal clinics. He also co-authored influential family policy papers for the Centre for Social Justice.

Harry’s book What Mums Want And Dads Need To Know – co-authored with his wife Kate – reached number 11 on Amazon UK; in it, Harry and Kate share their own back-from-the-brink experience, demonstrating how marriages go wrong and what makes them go right.

Harry’s latest book Commit or Quit – The Two Year Rule and Other Rules for Romance is for couples starting out and covers how to choose well and how to avoid getting stuck!

Harry and Kate live on a rural small holding, have been married 35 years, and have six children.

Harry will be studying for a PhD in social policy at the School for Policy Studies at Bristol University from 2021-2024. The subject? Marriage of course!

Michaela Hyde

Executive Director of Marriage Foundation

Michaela is the Executive Director for Marriage Foundation and Co-ordinator of the UK National Marriage Week. She is also a freelance presenter – over the years, her experience has included children’s TV, health and wellness presenter & coach, and television shopping channels. Since joining the Marriage Foundation team, Michaela has appeared on BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live, Premier Radio and Trans World Radio, and has been interviewed on several local BBC radio stations. She also hosts ‘The M Word’ podcast.

Michaela has been married to Nick since 1999 and they have two teenage children. Michaela believes that healthy marriages are fundamental to a stable society, offering the best life chances for children and that for marriages to work and last, they require regular care and investment by both partners.

Patrons

Baroness Butler-Sloss

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss was called to the Bar in 1955; she was appointed a Registrar in the Registry Family Division in 1970 and subsequently a High Court Judge, Family Division (1979-1988) and then to the Court of Appeal (1988–1999).  From 1999 until her retirement in 2005 Lady Butler-Sloss was President of the Family Division. She was made Baroness Butler-Sloss of Marsh Green in 2006.

In 1987/88 she chaired the Cleveland Child Abuse Inquiry and was chairman of the Security Commission between 1994 and 2005. She has been the Chancellor of the University of the West of England since 1993 and holds a number of Honorary Fellowships including St Hilda’s College, Oxford, King’s College, London, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Baroness Deech QC

Ruth Deech is Gresham Professor of Law (from 2008) and Chair of the Bar Standards Board (from 2009). She was Principal of St Anne’s College 1991-2004; Chair, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority 1994-2002; BBC Governor 2002-06; Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education 2004-08; Board Member, Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University; Chair, Academic Panel, Stuart Young Foundation; Trustee, Jewish National Fund; Trustee, Community Security Trust; Trustee, Coexistence Trust; Executive Council Member, International Society of Family Law.

Baroness Shackleton

Fiona Shackleton was appointed to the House of Lords in 2010; she works with a variety of high-profile clients, primarily dealing with family work. She qualified as a solicitor in 1980, joining Brecher & Co in 1981 and was made a partner later that year; joined Farrer & Co in 1984 where she became a partner in 1987; currently a Partner at Payne Hicks Beach which she joined in 2001; personal solicitor to Prince William of Wales and Prince Harry of Wales; Honorary Doctorate Exeter University, 2010.

Lady Toulson CBE DL

Elizabeth Toulson was called to the Bar in 1974. She is a is a Board Member of Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People and a member of the governing body of Charterhouse. She was High Sheriff of Surrey 2009-10 and has been chairman of the Children’s Society and of Time for Families.