Frances Branagh: What Happened To Kenneth Branagh’s Mother?

Frances Branagh

Frances Branagh is the mother of actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh. Frances’ son Kenneth Branagh has been active in the film industry since the 1980s. He has won an Academy Award, four BAFTAs, two Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Olivier Award. He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2012 Birthday Honours and was given Freedom of the City in his native Belfast in 2018.

Frances Branagh: Bio Summary

NameFrances Branagh
Famous as mother of Kenneth Branagh
Gender Female
Date of birth 06 September 1930
Place of birth Belfast, Ireland, UK
Died 2004
Parents Speedy Harper and Sarah Anne Harper
Spouse William Branagh
Children William Branagh Jr., Kenneth Branagh, and Joyce Branagh

Who Is Kenneth Branagh’s Mother, Frances Branagh?

Frances Branagh was born Frances Harper on 06 September 1930, in Belfast, Ireland, UK. Her parents were Martin “Speedy” Harper and Sarah Anne Harper. Her mother passed away shortly after her birth. She moved in with her Great Aunt Alice in Bally McCarret, East Belfast until she was 6 years old when Alice died, per Famechain.

Frances Branagh then moved back in with her father and siblings. Her siblings are Willie-John Harper, George Harper, Martin Harper, Andrew Harper, Charlie Harper, James Harper, Kathleen Harper, Rosie Harper, Jeanie Harper, and Sarah Harper. Frances’ educational background and qualifications are not available.

Much is unknown about her childhood. She was raised away from the spotlight. Frances Branagh was a Mill Operative, according to a source. She lived a very private life away from the spotlight. There isn’t much information about her life publicly available.

Frances Branagh’s Marriage

Frances Branagh met and married a man named William Branagh. Her husband William was a plumber and joiner who ran a company that specialized in fitting partitions and suspended ceilings. Frances and William have three children, William Branagh Jr., actor and filmmaker Kenneth Branagh, and Joyce Branagh.

The family lived in Belfast. In the early 1970s, they moved to England to escape the Troubles and settled in Berkshire. Frances and William’s son Kenneth said that his mother Frances “had just got pregnant with my sister when things became quite intense in Belfast, especially around our era – the Troubles. One night Bill came running up our street saying: “Get in the house, get in the house!””

ALSO, READ: William Branagh: Where Is Kenneth Branagh’s Father Now?

“We heard a terrible buzzing noise. Just as he was dragging me in, I saw a sort of cloud at the bottom of the street, which turned out to be a huge bomb. Bill pushed Mum and me under a table in the back room. We didn’t know it then, but the terrible noise we’d heard was the mob outside, who were picking up the iron gratings from the drains at the side of the roads and throwing them through the windows of the Catholic houses.”

“I was hysterical, Bill was peeping out the curtain and Mum was saying: “Get down, get down!” A couple of hours later, there were barricades at the top and bottom of the street, while the men divided themselves into vigilante groups. Our street had turned into a war zone overnight.” Frances Branagh and her husband William Branagh “felt uneasy about Belfast.”

Frances’ husband William, who was a “joiner had been offered a job in England, which was more at a management level.” Frances and William then decided to “take the opportunity” although none of the family was very happy. Their son Kenneth said: “Being from Belfast made you quite unpopular in England, so it was a pretty difficult time.”

According to Kenneth, his mother Frances who was “taken away from her family in belfast, felt quite isolated.” Kenneth also disclosed that, “The move to England felt at times like some kind of betrayal. The transformation from that very grounded Belfast life, with its comfortable and simple expectations, had a profound effect on me.”

What Happened To Kenneth Branagh’s Mother?

Kenneth Branagh’s mother Frances Branagh died of a heart condition in the year 2004. There aren’t many details regarding her death. Frances’ husband William Branagh died of cancer in 2006.

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Ruth Kai Botchway

Ruth Kai Botchway is a Senior Editor at She is a graduate of All Stars Media College (2021) with a Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies. With more than two years experience in Journalism, she has served as an intern at Accra FM and worked with Green TV and Ashiaman TV. She worked as a Maritime Journalist/ influencer, producing Port and Maritime agenda initially aired on Ashiaman TV. You can reach her via email:

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