In December 1999 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the UK's Millenium New Year's Honors list for "services to entrepreneurship."
Owner of The Virgin Group, which has more than 200 entertainment, media and travel companies around the world. Virgin's interests include an airline, airships, retailing (music, videos and computer games), beverages, cosmetics, clothing, financial services, night clubs, health clubs, internet services, mobile phone services, passenger trains, publishing, record labels (V2 Records), tour operation, film and TV production, and condoms.
His first business, a used record store, was called "Virgin Records" because it was his first business venture ever.
When he started his record label, the first artist he signed was his school friend Mike Oldfield. His album length composition "Tubular Bells" became a multi- million seller after it was used as the theme to the film The Exorcist (1973).
Started Virgin Atlantic Airways after a flight he was scheduled for was cancelled. Upon hearing of the cancellation, he quickly had a charter jet liner secured, and invited the passengers of the cancelled flight to fly for free. He jokingly posted a hand-lettered sign above the entryway, reading, "Virgin Atlantic Airways - Flight 1." Several of the passengers of that flight became investors of the airline. Ironically, just before Virgin Records was purchased in 1992 by the EMI Group, the label was distributed as a stand-alone venture by Atlantic Records in the USA from 1986 to 1992.
Has opened a chain of bridal shops in England named Virgin Bride.
Recently registered the business name "Virgin Interplanetary", in case space travel becomes commercially viable.
Has expressed interest in opening a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Daughter Holly is studying at London's University College in hopes of becoming a pediatrician
Children Sam, 18 and Holly, 21. (2003)
Dropped out of school when he was 15.
Features in one of the episodes of the sitcom "Friends" (1994), when Friends goes to London. In the episode, he sells British souvenirs to Joey and Chandler. It has been reported he was very nervous about forgetting his lines but all went well. It is noticeable in all scenes in the episode featuring airports or airplanes show the logo of "Virgin Atlantic," the airline of Richard Branson.
Co-founded, with Nelson Mandela and Peter Gabriel, world human rights advocacy group The Elders in July 2007.