Thursday April 7, 2022: St John is delighted to announce the appointment of Stuart Shilson LVO GCStJ DL as the new Prior of the Priory of England and the Islands of the Order of St John, and chair of St John Ambulance, later in the spring.


Stuart has over 20 years of service within St John. He is a Bailiff Grand Cross of the Order and was previously a member of its worldwide governing body. As Sub-Prior of the Order internationally, he helped establish an innovative maternal and neonatal care programme in sub-Saharan Africa. He will be retiring as Vice Chair of British Red Cross during April and is a serving Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London.

In his professional life, Stuart is a senior partner at global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. During a long and illustrious career, he has also worked as a commercial barrister and a senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office, and spent three years as Assistant Private Secretary to HM The Queen, our Sovereign Head.

“I am delighted to have been chosen as Prior of England and the Islands and as Chair of St John Ambulance. I will continue to serve the St John organisation to the best of my abilities,” says Stuart.

“I know this role brings with it a tremendous opportunity to lead one of the nation’s most treasured charities, and one that has given so much, with such selflessness, through this pandemic.”

By Royal appointment

Following a rigorous external selection process, Stuart’s name was submitted to HRH The Duke of Gloucester, The Grand Prior of the Order and his appointment was approved.

St John’s Chancellor, Mick Messinger says: “Stuart’s knowledge of governance and leadership, his deep understanding of St John and his vision for St John Ambulance as an organisation with a clear mission in the service of humanity impressed the entire panel.

“We look forward to welcoming him as Prior in the coming months.”

New boss

St John Ambulance chief executive, Martin Houghton-Brown adds: “I’m looking forward to the prospect of working with Stuart as our new Chair and my new boss!

“I have already had the opportunity to meet with him and his dedication to our mission, the difference we can make as a charity and our desire to build a supportive welcoming community really inspired me. I know we will all enjoy making him feel welcome and demonstrating our incredible work across this wonderful charity.”