Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh

Branagh in 2015, photo by PR Photos

Birth Name: Kenneth Charles Branagh

Place of Birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Date of Birth: 10 December, 1960

Ethnicity: Northern Irish/Irish

Kenneth Branagh is a Northern Irish-born actor, writer, director, and producer. He has directed and starred in the films Henry V (1989), Dead Again, Peter’s Friends, Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), Hamlet (1996), Love’s Labour’s Lost (2000), Sleuth (2007), Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Murder on the Orient Express (2017), All Is True, Death on the Nile (2022), and A Haunting in Venice, and directed the films In the Bleak Midwinter (1995), As You Like It, The Magic Flute (2006), Thor (2011), Cinderella (2015), Artemis Fowl, and Belfast (2021). He wrote the scripts for his Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, In the Bleak Midwinter, Hamlet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, As You Like It, The Magic Flute, and Belfast, winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the latter. His roles also include the films Othello (1995), Celebrity (1998), Wild Wild West, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Valkyrie, My Week with Marilyn, Dunkirk, Tenet, and Oppenheimer (2023), and television’s Fortunes of War, Conspiracy (2001), Shackleton (2002), Warm Springs, and Wallander. He has been president of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art since 2015.

He was born to a Protestant family in Belfast, and was raised in Reading, Berkshire, after his family moved to England c. 1970, because of the Troubles. He is the son of Frances (Harper) and William Branagh, who was a plumber and joiner. His father ran a company specializing in fitting partitions and suspended ceilings. Kenneth was given Freedom of the City in Belfast in 2018.

Kenneth is married to film art director Lindsay Brunnock.

Kenneth’s paternal grandfather was William Robert Branagh (the son of William Branagh and Mary Anne/Annie Ellis). Kenneth’s grandfather William was born in Belfast, Antrim. Kenneth’s great-grandfather William was the son of John Branagh. Mary Anne was the daughter of John Ellis.

Kenneth’s paternal grandmother was Elizabeth Harold Maguire (the daughter of Thomas Maguire and Mary Isabella/Isabelle Craig). Elizabeth was born in Belfast. Thomas was the son of Skelton Maguire, who was Catholic, and of Ellen Hood Hooke. Mary Isabella was the daughter of William Craig and Eliza Thompson.

Kenneth’s maternal grandfather was named Martin “Speedy” Harper.

Kenneth’s maternal grandmother was named Sarah Anne.

Source: Genealogy of Kenneth Branagh –

5 Responses

  1. JackB says:

    Ulster-Scots is somewhat of a misnomer when describing Irish people with Protestant religious backgrounds.
    Firstly the Scots part is not entirely accurate as many of these are of English background, or Anglo Irish.
    Secondly the Ulster part is not entirely correct either as many did not originally, or even ever come through, Ulster. There are many of us in the other 26 counties who have Scottish, English, and/or Welsh blood also, through British conquering and plantation. They are from the exact same group of people as the “Ulster-Scots”, and they may be neither Ulster, nor Scots.
    But all are Irish……just like Kenneth Brannagh considers himself. Irish.

  2. toddandrew says:

    Wonder if he’s Ulster Scots?

    • Oaken05 says:

      With names like “Craig” in his recent family tree, and with his family being Protestant, perhaps the question should be how much non-Ulster Scotts background he has.

      • toddandrew says:

        With names like “Maguire” could he also be descended from Catholics that converted? That’s what it looks like.

        • jackson9 says:

          The “Maguire” line is ethnically Irish/Irish Catholic. Skelton Maguire (2nd-great grandfather) as listed was born in 1829 in Belfast, Ireland. He may have been Protestant. His parents were Thomas Maguire (1799-1864) Belfast, Northern, Ireland and Susan Walsh. From the “Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915” on this third great-grandfather was Catholic.

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