Freddie Mercury sings Love of My Life at Wembley in 1986
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This weekend marks the special day in August 1991 when a courageous Freddie gave his boyfriend an unexpectedly delightful surprise. The star’s health had worsened through the year and he rarely left his bed but he made a special effort one sunny summery afternoon at his beloved home, One Garden Lodge, West Kensington. Despite his increasing frailty, he even took the trouble to style his hair and select a lovely outfit. It is a fitting way to remember a star who was so full of life right until the very end.
Freddie always said he didn’t care how people remembered him: “It’s up to them. When I’m dead, who cares? I don’t.” But he would not have wanted to be remembered diminished, pale and frail, as he appeared at the 1990 BRITS.
Of course, his legend and legacy have lived in as one of the most dynamic, colourful and talented stars of all time and his indomitable spirit shines through in these final pictures on him smiling in the sunshine.
It seems perfect that he also has one of his beloved and faithful feline companions standing at his side. Freddie’s end was unbearably tragic but he was surrounded by love at all times.
The pictures are also an echo of one of the earliest pictures of Freddie at home in his much more modest Holland Park garden in 1975.
In his memoirs Hutton describes the moment: “That summer Freddie posed for a camera for the very last time – mine.
“It happened like this. I was out in the garden photographing some of the flowers in full bloom and Freddie walked towards me. I trained the lens on – he wanted to move back a bit so it wasn’t a close-up. Then he posed while I took four pictures, and he managed a smile for each.”
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Jim added: “He was so pale and drawn that he knew he didn’t look his best, but it didn’t matter a bit; of all the pictures I have of Freddie, those are the ones I love most.”
The pictures were taken on August 28, 1991, three months before the Queen icon passed away.
What is so touching is how much effort Freddie had clearly made in choosing a special outfit.
His close friend and live-in PA Peter Freestone described to Express Online how casual Freddie had always liked to be at home, rarely dressing up even in full health.
Peter said: “Freddie at home alone with us would be sitting in a mismatched tracksuit on the sofa watching Countdown.”
It is clear that the smart blue trousers and patterned floral shirt were chosen on purpose by Freddie. He wanted to look nice for the moment and for Jim. In doing so, he also left one last wonderful memory to the world.
It is also fitting one of his cats was there, too.
The star had at least ten over the years, starting with Tom and Jerry when he lived with Mary Austin. Six were living with him at the end – Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo.
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