Richard Branson shows off his newly rebuilt Virgin Islands home
Published 18/11/2013 | 11:39
Richard Branson shows off the new luxury home he has built on his private island to replace the one which burned to the ground.
His previous pile was razed in a blaze two years ago while Kate Winslet was staying as a guest on Necker Island in the Caribbean and she helped lead the tycoon's mother Eve to safety.
Now Sir Richard has completed the replacement and the Virgin boss told Hello! magazine that he now used it as his main residence.
The businessman - who posed with his family in a shoot for the magazine - said the best way to recover from the shock of the devastating fire had been to immediately begin building another house.
"It may sound strange for me to say that, but we had an hour when we weren't sure if everyone had got out alive, so the enormous relief we felt when we realised everybody was fine.
"Later that morning, while the fire was still burning, we got out a big sheet of paper and started planning the rebuild. That's the best way to cope with situations like this - to be positive and plan for the future."
Speaking about how he has based himself there, Sir Richard said: "I bought the island when I was 27 and have tried to come here every spare minute ever since.
"I have my office here and it's easy to attract people to come from all over the world, to plot and plan things. When I'm not working I can spend a day kiting, playing tennis, keeping fit, and now I'm in my mid-60s I feel I've reached an age where [those sort of activities] are essential."
He posed alongside his wife Lady Branson, their children Holly and Sam and their respective spouses Freddie Andrewes and Isabella Calthorpe in front of the property in the Virgin Islands.
Holly said they had tried to retain the essence of the original property, called the Great House: "Initially, when we first started making plans, Sam and I were pernickety about the details, getting our notebooks out.
"But what's amazing is that as soon as we walked in we were like, 'Wow - it has the same feeling.' It's got the same vibe as the old place."
:: The full interview is in the new edition of Hello! which is out now.