Virgin heiress just another Bondi blonde

Virgin heiress just another Bondi blonde - 14th April 2007
(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Holly Branson is heiress to what Virgin Blue says is a $7 billion fortune, but on Bondi Beach she is just another pretty twentysomething blonde British tourist "havin' a laff" with her friends and trying to get a tan.

The 23-year-old has just completed a six-week stint studying and working at the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick. She was in town with two English girlfriends and rented a small flat a block behind Bondi Beach, anonymously mingling with the locals.

"She keeps a pretty low profile," a friend told PS this week, explaining how different Holly was to her headline-loving, attention-seeking billionaire father, Richard Branson.

The Branson family has had a long love affair with Australia. Branson, his wife, Joan, 21-year-old fashion model son, Sam, and Holly spent most of January aboard the family superyacht, the Lady Barbaretta, as it bobbed on Sydney Harbour.

"Richard and the family loves Australia," said Branson's spokeswoman Down Under, Danielle Keighery.

"Holly has no plans to live in Australia on a more permanent basis at this stage and she still has another year of study ahead of her in London. The staff at the hospital all knew who she was, but she was treated just like any other person working there."

The magazine FHM recently listed Holly as one of the world's 20 most eligible bachelorettes, ranking her 16th - just ahead of the Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna, but behind the Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen, who scored 15th.

The British tabloids have linked Holly to Prince William. She attended his 21st birthday party, but failed to meet granny Queen Elizabeth's full approval, as noted in an entry in Richard Branson's diary that was published in Fortune magazine.

"There was an enormous elephant made of ice, with straight vodka pouring from its trunk. As Holly leaned forward, mouth open, to taste the vodka, she caught a glimpse of the Queen, surveying the scene with a disparaging look on her face," Branson wrote.

The Bransons are still keen to invest in a more permanent Australian presence, despite the family's latest attempts to buy a $4.8 million house in Noosa being thwarted by foreign investment rules.



Richard Branson

Bondi Beach