They were devoted to each other from the moment they met in the early 1970s until Freddie’s last day on November 24, 1991. Mary Austin remained “the love of my life” even after Freddie came out as gay. She inherited his house and the bulk of his fortune. She remembers caring for Freddie with his closest group of friends in the final days when everybody took shifts by his bedside to make sure he was never alone. The quality of thispoiuy home video is not always good, as everyone jostles to see Mary and glimpse through the gate into the normally hidden garden, but it is a powerful reminder of a loss which still resonates decades later.
Mary said it took her five years to be able to go into Freddie’s old bedroom after he passed away: “I’d spent so long with him being unwell and there were so many memories in that room. Memories of him suffering. I just saw this very frail man lying in his bed and remembered all the little things that I used to do for him. Combing his hair, because he’d lie back and all his hair would be sticking up.
“During those times I did really feel such love for him. They were the moments I remembered every time I looked at his bed. I would sit every day next to the bed for six hours, whether he was awake or not.
“He would suddenly wake up and smile and say, ‘Oh, it’s you, old faithful.'”
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In the extraordinary video shot outside the house a year later, Mary talks to the fans who had gathered and shares their grief.
She tells them: “Today I think I was still with him and I didn’t leave here until about one (in the morning) last year, and so for me, I’m still there holding his hand….
“It won’t be until about seven this evening, when I received the phone call, that it will hit home.”
Asked how she was coping, Mary replied: “The same as any of us, I suppose. You guys have found it hard, haven’t you? We all know how we feel so at least we can empathise.”
A year later when Mary met the fans outside the mansion, where she now lived, Mary responded to their calls for an official monument.
She said: “It’s great, it’s wonderful that you’re here. I’m just so sorry that there isn’t a memorial or somewhere for you to pay your respects.
Asked about where she thought a memorial should go, Mary replied: “I don’t know. I just wish there would be one somewhere. I wish the persons responsible would just hurry up and get one organised. It’s been a long time. Even the poorest of the poor have one. It’s about time he had one, too.”
As the gates are closed and then opened again for flowers to be delivered, there is an extremely rare glimpse of the beautiful gardens and impressive huge home where the Queen star had lived, loved and died.
Mary rarely ever gives interviews but she spoke powerfully of their love and her pain when he died: “I lost somebody who I thought was my eternal love. When he died I felt we’d had a marriage. We’d lived our vows. We’d done it for better for worse, for richer for poorer. In sickness and in health.
“You could never have let go of Freddie unless he died. Even then it was difficult.”