top of page

Ranulph's Early Life

Where did Ranulph Fiennes come from?

Some people are just destined for greatness. They have the spirit of adventure coursing through their veins, and a family tree full of those characters that made their mark in no uncertain terms. 


Sir Ranulph Fiennes is one of those people. (And if you want to learn more about the rest of the family tree, he’s written about it several times.)


Born in 1944 in Windsor, Berkshire, as Ranulph Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, he is the third Baronet of Banbury, taking the title at birth after his father was killed in World War Two mere months before Ranulph Jr was born. Ranulph Sr has been our Ran’s life-long hero, a giant of the war who was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Order.


Despite his UK birth, Sir Ranulph spent his youth in South Africa with his three elder sisters after his mother moved the family to be closer to their paternal grandmother. They returned to the UK in 1954 after her death.


His late father loomed large in young Sir Ranulph’s life, not just in South Africa but also beyond. He’d always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Royal Scots Greys, to be a commanding officer just like his father... 


...but young Sir Ranulph was not academically inclined. He attended Western Province Preparatory School in Newlands, Cape Town, then Sandroyd School in Wiltshire, UK, followed by three years at the world-famous Eton College, where aristocratic boys are made into men. He failed his A Levels, not getting enough marks to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and start that military dream. 


Do you think that stopped our Sir Ranulph? Not likely. The spirit of adventure firmly in sight, he found a way - because there is always a way. You just have to know where to look, and how to push through. 

bottom of page