He was the greatest showman. Flamboyant, fearless, able to hold entire stadiums in the palm of his hand. Freddie revelled in the spotlight, courted it and made it his own. Yet, he still carried fears and insecurities throughout his whole life. One, most of all, he only felt free from in the privacy of his own home. Freddie’s live-in personal assistant Peter Freestone was with him until the end and reveals how Freddie could truly be himself away from the world.
Freddie’s smile dazzled fans but they almost never saw the full unbridled joy of it. In his moving blog, Ask Phoebe, on the official Freddie Mercury website, Freestone explans why.
He says: “The moments that always stood out for me were when he was at home laughing.
“I know this sounds quite ordinary, but whenever you see Freddie smiling or laughing during an interview, he always uses his top lip to cover his teeth, or else he brings up his hand to cover his mouth.
“When he was at home he wasn’t self-conscious surrounded by friends, and he would just throw his head back and laugh out loud with his mouth wide open.”
“Those were the times when the warm, funny and relaxed man was able to appear, without having to be wary of strangers seeing him without the Freddie Mercury – the Rock Star persona.”
Contrary to popular belief, Freddie’s home was never a major party palace. It really was simply his sanctuary.
Freestone says: “Freddie’s Garden Lodge generally had a quiet atmosphere. It was his home, so while he had quite a few wonderful parties for anything up to 200 people, it was a place he felt secure in and a place where he didn’t have to guard anything he said or did.
“He could get up in the morning and put on a mismatching tracksuit, he could be silent if he wanted to, or come downstairs from his bedroom, full of life.
“Freddie loved laughing, so was almost always with people who could make him laugh.”
Freestone, like all those lucky enough to be invited into Freddie’s beloved home, confirms just how stunning the decorations and furnishings were.
“While Freddie was alive, it was the warmest, most welcoming home that I could wish for.
“It was decorated most beautifully, it was filled with great furniture and as Freddie said, it wasn’t a museum; it was a house to be lived in and enjoyed.”
Freddie left the house in his will to ex-girlfriend Mary Austin, the “love of my life”, who kept much of the interior exactly how Freddie had created it.