96 Facts About Richard Branson


Richard Branson's first business venture, at the age of 16, was a magazine called Student.


In 1997, Richard Branson founded the Virgin Rail Group to bid for passenger rail franchises, during the privatisation of British Rail.


In March 2000, Richard Branson was knighted at Buckingham Palace for "services to entrepreneurship".


On 11 July 2021, Richard Branson travelled as a passenger onboard Virgin Galactic Unity 22 at the edge of space, a suborbital test flight for his spaceflight company Virgin Galactic.


At 70, Richard Branson became the third oldest person to fly to space.


Richard Branson has two younger sisters, Lindy Branson and Vanessa Branson.


Richard Branson's grandfather, Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson, was a judge of the High Court of Justice and a Privy Councillor.


Richard Branson was educated at Scaitcliffe School, a prep school in Surrey, before briefly attending Cliff View House School in Sussex.


Richard Branson attended Stowe School, a private school in Buckinghamshire until the age of sixteen.


Richard Branson has dyslexia, and had poor academic performance; on his last day at school, his headmaster, Robert Drayson, told him he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire.


Richard Branson's parents were supportive of his endeavours from an early age.


Richard Branson's mother was an entrepreneur; one of her most successful ventures was building and selling wooden tissue boxes and wastepaper bins.


Richard Branson said in a 2011 interview with CNN's Piers Morgan that he believes in evolution and the importance of humanitarian efforts but not in the existence of God.


Richard Branson used the magazine to advertise popular albums, driving his record sales.


Richard Branson interviewed several prominent personalities of the late 1960s for the magazine including Mick Jagger and R D Laing.


Richard Branson took over full direction of Student after successfully lying to Powell that the workers at the magazine opposed Powell's plans to turn the magazine into a cooperative.


Richard Branson's business sold records for considerably less than the "High Street" outlets, especially the chain WHSmith.


Richard Branson eventually started a record shop in Oxford Street in London.


Richard Branson's parents re-mortgaged the family home to help pay the settlement.


In 1972, using money earned from his record store, Richard Branson launched the record label Virgin Records with Nik Powell.


Richard Branson bought a country estate north of Oxford in which he installed a residential recording studio, The Manor Studio.


Richard Branson leased studio time to fledgling artists, including multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, whose debut album Tubular Bells was the first release for Virgin Records and became a chart-topping best-seller.


Richard Branson's flight was cancelled, so he decided to charter his own plane the rest of the way and offered a ride to the rest of the stranded passengers for a small fee to cover the cost.


In 1991, in a consortium with David Frost, Richard Branson made an unsuccessful bid for three ITV franchises under the CPV-TV name.


Richard Branson said that he wept when the sale was completed because the record business had been the very start of the Virgin empire.


In 1997, Richard Branson took what many saw as being one of his riskier business exploits by entering into the railway business during the privatisation of British Rail in the late 1990s.


Richard Branson distributed his compensation among his staff.


Richard Branson launched Virgin Mobile in 1999, and airline Virgin Blue in Australia in 2000.


In 2013, Richard Branson said that he planned to take his two children, 31-year-old Holly and 28-year-old Sam, on a trip to outer space when they ride the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane on its first public flight, then planned for 2014.


Richard Branson wrote in his autobiography of the decision to start an airline.


Richard Branson has stated that he was formerly a global warming sceptic and was influenced in his decision by a breakfast meeting with Al Gore.


On 21 September 2006, Richard Branson pledged to invest the profits of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains in research for environmentally-friendly fuels.


In 2006, Richard Branson formed Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation, an entertainment company focused on creating new stories and characters for a global audience.


Richard Branson launched the Virgin Health Bank on 1 February 2007, offering parents-to-be the opportunity to store their baby's umbilical cord blood stem cells in private and public stem-cell banks.


In July 2007, Richard Branson purchased his Australian home, Makepeace Island, in Noosa.


Richard Branson later stated an interest in Formula One, but claimed that, before the Virgin brand became involved with Honda or any other team, Formula One would have to develop a more economically efficient and environmentally responsible image.


In February 2018, Richard Branson announced the first Virgin hotel in the UK would open in Edinburgh.


Richard Branson kept his word after losing the bet, as he served his duty as a stewardess on an Air Asia flight between Perth and Kuala Lumpur on 12 May 2013.


In 2010, Richard Branson became patron of the UK's Gordon Bennett 2010 gas balloon race, which has 16 hydrogen balloons flying across Europe.


In July 2012, Richard Branson announced plans to build an orbital space launch system, designated LauncherOne.


Richard Branson had expressed his concerns about the tender process and questioned the validity of the business plan submitted by FirstGroup.


When Virgin Rail lost the contract, Richard Branson said he was convinced the civil servants had "got their maths wrong".


In 2014, Richard Branson launched the "Foodpreneur" food and drink-focused start-up competition.


In November 2015, Richard Branson announced the addition of Moskito Island to the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio.


Richard Branson joined the board of directors, and in December 2017, became its chairman.


In October 2017, Richard Branson appeared on the Season 9 Premiere of Shark Tank as a guest investor, where he invested in Locker Board, a sustainable line of skateboards invented by 11-year-old, Carson Kropfl.


Richard Branson told the young business man that he reminded him of himself.


Richard Branson became the richest Shark to have appeared on the show.


In February 2019, Richard Branson helped organise an international benefit concert, Venezuela Aid Live, to bring worldwide attention to the humanitarian crisis and raise funds for humanitarian aid.


On 11 July 2021, Richard Branson took a flight with Beth Moses, Sirisha Bandla and Colin Bennett and reached edge of space on a Virgin Galactic spacecraft called VSS Unity.


Richard Branson has been involved in a number of failed business ventures, such as Virgin Cola, Virgin Cars, Virgin Publishing, Virgin Clothing and Virgin Brides.


Richard Branson made several world record-breaking attempts after 1985, when in the spirit of the Blue Riband he attempted the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing by ship.


Some newspapers called for Richard Branson to reimburse the government for the rescue cost.


In January 1991, Richard Branson crossed the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada, 6,700 miles, in a balloon of 2,600,000 cubic feet.


In March 2004, Richard Branson set a record by travelling from Dover to Calais in a Gibbs Aquada in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 6 seconds, the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle.


The cast of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, attempted to break this record in 2007 with an amphibious vehicle which they had constructed and, while successfully crossing the channel, did not break Branson's record.


Richard Branson has guest starred, usually playing himself, on several television shows, including Friends, Baywatch, Birds of a Feather, Only Fools and Horses, The Day Today, a special episode of the comedy Goodness Gracious Me and Tripping Over.


Richard Branson appears in a cameo early in XTC's "Generals and Majors" video.


Richard Branson was the star of a reality television show on Fox called The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best, in which sixteen contestants were tested for their entrepreneurship and sense of adventure and only lasted one season.


Richard Branson is caricatured in The Simpsons episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love" as the tycoon Arthur Fortune, as the ballooning megalomaniac Richard Chutney in Believe Nothing, and voiced himself in "The Princess Guide".


Richard Branson has a cameo appearance in several films: Around the World in 80 Days, where he played a hot-air balloon operator, and Superman Returns, where he was credited as a 'Shuttle Engineer' and appeared alongside his son, Sam, with a Virgin Galactic-style commercial suborbital shuttle at the centre of his storyline.


Richard Branson has a cameo in the James Bond film Casino Royale.


Richard Branson makes a number of brief and disjointed appearances in the documentary Derek and Clive Get the Horn, which follows the exploits of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore recording their final comedy album.


Richard Branson is a Star Trek fan and named his new spaceship VSS Enterprise in honour of the Star Trek spaceships, and in 2006, reportedly offered actor William Shatner a ride on the inaugural space launch of Virgin Galactic.


Richard Branson later doused political satirist and talk show host Stephen Colbert with water from his mug.


Richard Branson then made a cameo appearance in The Soup, playing an intern working under Joel McHale who had been warned against getting into water fights with Stephen Colbert, and being subsequently fired.


In July 2010, Richard Branson narrated Australian sailor Jessica Watson's documentary about her solo sailing trip around the world.


In 1998, Richard Branson released his autobiography, titled Losing My Virginity, an international best-seller.


Richard Branson was deeply saddened by the disappearance of fellow adventurer Steve Fossett in September 2007; the following month he wrote an article for Time magazine, titled "My Friend, Steve Fossett".


Richard Branson launched Virgin Startup, an official delivery partner for the UK's Start Up Loans programme.


In March 2008, Richard Branson hosted an environmental gathering at his private island, Necker Island, in the Caribbean with several entrepreneurs, celebrities, and world leaders.


On 8 May 2009, Richard Branson took over Mia Farrow's hunger strike for three days in protest of the Sudanese government expulsion of aid groups from the Darfur region.


Richard Branson is a signatory of Global Zero campaign, a non-profit international initiative for the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.


Since 2010, Richard Branson has served as a Commissioner on the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a UN initiative which promotes universal access to broadband services.


In December 2013, Richard Branson urged companies to boycott Uganda because of its "anti-homosexuality bill".


In 2014, Richard Branson joined forces with African Wildlife Foundation and partner WildAid for the "Say No" Campaign, an initiative to bring public awareness to the issues of wildlife poaching and trafficking.


In October 2018, Richard Branson spoke out for Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who was killed by Saudi authorities in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey by suspending his advisory role from Saudi Arabia's biggest Red Sea tourism project.


On 10 April 2023 Richard Branson became an ambassador for the United24 fundraising platform.


Richard Branson is the Co-founder of the B Team, a global nonprofit organization that was founded in 2013 by a group of business leaders who are committed to using their influence to drive positive change and promote sustainable business practice.


Richard Branson was suggested as a candidate for Mayor of London before the first 2000 election, with polls indicating he would be a viable candidate, but he did not express interest.


In March 2015, Richard Branson said that almost all drug use should be decriminalised in the UK, following the example of Portugal.


Richard Branson supported continuing British membership of the European Union and was opposed to the 2016 referendum.


Richard Branson endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up for the 2016 US presidential election.


Richard Branson openly criticised the Philippine drug war marred by allegations of extrajudicial killings.


However, Richard Branson declined this invitation, stating that such debates often focus on the personalities rather than the issue itself.


In 1971, Richard Branson was briefly jailed and convicted for tax evasion, having fraudulently obtained export documents for records to be sold on the domestic market to avoid paying Purchase Tax.


Richard Branson was advised of the sting by an anonymous tip-off and attempted to dispose of the evidence, but this was unsuccessful.


Richard Branson has been criticised for his business strategy, and has been accused of being a carpetbagger.


Richard Branson responded that he is living on Necker for health rather than tax reasons.


In 2013, Richard Branson described himself as a "tax exile", having saved millions in tax by ending his mainland British residency and living in the British Virgin Islands.


Richard Branson married Kristen Tomassi in 1972 and divorced her in 1979.


In 1976, Richard Branson met Joan Templeman and later began a relationship with her.


In 2007, Richard Branson was ordained as a minister by the Universal Life Church Monastery to conduct an on-flight wedding as part of a marketing effort for domestic flights in the USA on Virgin America airline.


Richard Branson is an experienced kitesurfer, and set two world records in the sport.


Richard Branson has stated in a number of interviews that he has been much influenced by non-fiction books.


In fiction, Richard Branson has long admired the character Peter Pan, and in 2006, he founded Virgin Comics LLC, stating that Virgin Comics will give "a whole generation of young, creative thinkers a voice".