Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950 into a middle class family in the English county of Surrey. Branson was the oldest of three siblings. His father, Edward (Ted) Branson was an attorney, in the tradition of the Branson family ancestry. Most agree that Branson inherited his Nordic looks as well as his adventurous spirit from his mother, Eve Branson, a one-time dancer and actress, and a former flight attendant. So energetic and spirited was Eve Branson, that she learned to fly gliders at a time when few women drove cars. She flew so well, in fact, that she trained with the Royal Air Force (RAF) cadets for duty during the Second World War. The Branson children were raised to be hearty, active, and brave.
Richard Branson was not adventurous by nature. Out of concern, his mother left him alone in the countryside one day, with instructions to find his own way home through the fields of Devon. Branson was only four at the time, and a neighboring farmer eventually discovered the boy and alerted the Bransons to retrieve their son. Young Richard, who spent that day chasing butterflies, was enamored by the exhilaration of freedom at such a young age.