In Pictures: Freddie Mercury’s beautiful relationship with Mary Austin
9 June 2021, 11:36
Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin were engaged before the Queen star came out as gay, however the two remained very close for the rest of their days, with Freddie writing the famous song 'Love of My Life' about Mary.
The collection of photos has been put together by Youtuber Johnny Jau and is set against a backdrop of the song 'Love of My Life', the record written by the Queen frontman in tribute to Mary Austin.
The extraordinary album includes pictures of the Freddie Mercury and Mary backstage, on holiday, at garden parties, playing tennis and even in fancy dress.
Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin were so close, that at one stage Freddie asked her to marry him, and he also left her half of his £75million estate, including the £25million Georgian mansion in Kensington.
The unusual and life-long love between the pair was played out on screen in the Oscar-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody and despite being openly gay, Freddie Mercury said he'd love Mary "Until I draw my last breath. We’ll probably grow old together".
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A young Freddie Mercury first met Mary in 1969, five years after moving to England and a year before he joined Queen.
Aged 24 at the time, he had just finished art college, and a 19-year-old Mary was working in famous West London fashion boutique Biba, and love soon blossomed.
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They soon shared a small flat near Kensington Market, where Freddie had a clothes stall with Queen drummer Roger Taylor.
While there had been rumours about Freddie's sexuality, the constant presence of Mary meant his sexuality was not seriously questioned for some time and as Queen started to become famous, the frontman kept his secret.
Freddie dedicated the song 'Love Of My Life' to Mary Austin, and proposed in 1973.
Mary later said of the engagement: “I was speechless. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t understand what’s going on’. It wasn’t what I’d expected at all.”
However, Freddie could not ignore his attraction to men and started having affairs.
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He is said to have told her that he was bisexual in 1976. Mary later said: “I’ll never forget that moment. I remember saying to him, ‘No Freddie, I don’t think you are bisexual. I think you are gay’.”
They soon broke up and she soon moved into a nearby flat, and Freddie started hosting wild parties. However, Mary remained close, and even worked for his management company.
Watch the video of Mary Austin and Freddie Mercury below:
Freddie Mercury later said of his relationship with Mary: "Our love affair ended in tears, but a deep bond grew out of it, and that’s something nobody can take away from us.
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"It’s unreachable. People always ask me about sexuality and all those things, right from the early days, but I couldn’t fall in love with a man the same way as I have with Mary."
He concluded: "All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, but it’s simply impossible."
Freddie signed a will in September 1991, that gave half of his vast wealth to Mary and the rest to his parents and sister.
When Freddie's mother Jer was asked by The Telegraph if she approved of her son leaving most of his estate to Mary, she said firmly: “Why not? She was just like family to us and still is.”
Most of his friends, including lover Jim Hutton, were given £500,000 each or a house.
In quotes from Freddie Mercury: A Life In His Own Words, a collection of his major interviews and statements released in September 2019, the star said: “There have only been two individuals who have given back as much love to me as I gave to them: Mary, with whom I had a long affair, and our cat, Jerry.
“My bond with Mary seems to grow and grow. If I go first, I’m going to leave everything to her. Nobody else gets a penny, except my cats,” he continued.
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Mary was Freddie's bedside holding his hand when he passed away at the age of 45 on November 24, 1991.
She later carried out his wish to secretly scatter his ashes. While there have been various rumours about where she took the ashes, such as Kensal Green Cemetery or the cherry tree in his garden, she has never revealed the whereabouts.
Mary Austin later spoke out about how she struggled to come to terms with Freddie's death, telling OK! in a rare interview in 2000: “It was the loneliest and most difficult time of my life after Freddie died.
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“I knew I was having trouble coming to terms with his death and everything he had left me. I was best left to myself in order to come out of it.”
Despite the strong bond between the pair, Mary Austin did go on to marry artist Cameron Pierce and had two children Richard and James, with Freddie being made the eldest's godfather, and later married her second husband, Nicholas Holford.
But despite starting a family of her own, the bond with Freddie Mercury never went away. Speaking after his death, Mary said: "I lost my family, really, when Freddie died. He was everything to me, apart from my sons. He was like no one I had met before."
"I would prefer it was backward," she later added. "I should have died first. I'd rather he missed me than I missed him."