The powerhouse frontman of Queen, Freddie Mercury, was linked to a couple of lovers in his lifetime. These were his boyfriend, Jim Hutton and also Mary Austin, who held many positions in Mercury’s life and heart. He publicly dedicated the song “Love of my Life” to her in front of the whole world. Here’s what happened between them and how she was the love of his life.
Mary Austin and Freddie Mercury met long before Queen was headlining arenas. Freddie and Mary were both working in the Kensington neighborhood in London. She was nineteen, he was 24 when the two first met in 1969. Brian May, the guitarist for Queen, introduced the two. She was introverted and he was the opposite, being outgoing and confident. They gravitated to each other and started a relationship quickly. This included moving into a tiny studio together after just a couple of months.
They were still living together when Queen was offered their first record deal with EMI. Mary watched one of their early performances and is quoted, “Freddie was just so good on that stage, like I had never seen him before… For the first time, I felt, ‘Here is a star in the making'”. She tried to leave him then, thinking that it was only a matter of time before his fame would catch up. But, he refused to let her leave. She stayed right beside him as Queen became a worldwide sensation.
‘Love of My Life’
The following year, on Christmas day 1973 Freddie presented Mary Austin with a large box holding a series of tinier boxes that presented her with a jade ring. He asked her to marry him. He later would write and dedicate the hit “Love of My Life” to her. But, by 1980, the couple seemed to be cooling off. Mercury wasn’t talking about the prospect of a wedding anymore and Mary Austin felt they weren’t as close as they’d been in the past. Finally, he admitted to her that he thought he was bisexual. In response, Mary Austin said, “No Freddie, I don’t think you are bisexual. I think you are gay.”
As there had already been numerous rumors about the Queen singers love life and preference. The couple split but remained very close friends. Mercury bought Austin an apartment near his, to keep her nearby. Their romantic relationship was over but not the true love of their deep friendship.
After calling off their engagement, the two sought other partners. Mercury was in a high-profile relationship with Jim Hutton for seven years leading up until his death. Mary Austin had two children with Piers Cameron, a painter. But, the couple didn’t remain together long.
Despite being broken up, Mary and Freddie still loved each other very much and supported each other. Mercury often referred to her as his “old faithful” friend. Mary Austin was by Freddie’s side every day when he contracted AIDS in 1987. When he died years later he left his estate to Mary, including his Garden Lodge mansion.
She was also the one he asked to scatter his ashes to an unknown location. Some speculate it was Zanzibar, Freddie’s birthplace where he was born, Farrokh Bulsara. But since he wished the location to be kept a secret she says she will never tell. In 1985, explaining their relationship, Mercury told an interviewer: “All my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, but it’s simply impossible. The only friend I’ve got is Mary, and I don’t want anybody else. To me, she was my common-law wife. To me, it was a marriage. We believe in each other, that’s enough for me.”
To this day, Austin resides in the Garden Lodge mansion, decorated the exact same way that to keep his spirit where it belongs, accompanying her. Romance isn’t what made these two the love of each other’s lives, it was their lasting bond built on trust and unconditional love that only the truly lucky are able to find.