Mary Austin may be an unfamiliar name to anyone who is not a Rock aficionado or a big fan of the British Rock Band Queen. However, for those of you who are, or have maybe recently watched the incredible biographical movie Bohemian Rhapsody, you will probably already understand her significance.
For those of you that don’t know, then hopefully, the following will help to better answer, “Who is Mary Austin? Where is she now?” In any event, it should give you a better insight into not only Mary Austin but also into the personality of Freddie Mercury.
Let’s get started with her…
Mary Austin was born to a working-class family on the 6th of March 1951. She was brought up in West London by her two deaf parents, who could only communicate using sign language and lip reading. Her father worked as a wallpaper trimmer, as for her mother, she was a maid.
Mary Austin’s early life was difficult. Due to financial pressures, she was forced to leave school early at just 15 years old. Within a year, she was working as a receptionist. But, she left shortly after and started working at a trendy London Fashion store called Biba.
Her decision to switch jobs and work for Biba would eventually be what changed Mary Austin’s life forever. Biba was an exciting place to work. The store constantly attracted celebrity customers and was very much part of the fashion scene of London’s swinging 60s.
Mary Austin met many musicians whilst working there…
She was young and beautiful and was popular with most of the customers who came into the store. This also included Freddie Mercury, who met her in 1969 when she was only 19, and he was 24.
When Mary Austin met Freddie Mercury, he was working selling clothes in the Kensington market with fellow future Queen drummer Roger Taylor. However, at this point, Freddie Mercury had not joined Queen and was not a famous musician by any stretch of the imagination.
A few years after Mary and Freddie met, Queen would become world famous. Freddie would become one of the most recognizable musicians on earth, and Mary would become very rich as a consequence. However, for the first few years, they lived in a very modest apartment close to where Freddie worked in the market.
Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin’s Life Together
Throughout his life, Freddie Mercury would often refer to Mary Austin as his wife. But, during their six-year relationship as a couple, they never officially married in any capacity. However, this in no way diminished the strength of their relationship and how Freddie Mercury felt about Mary Austin.
Interestingly, Freddie did propose in 1973, but nothing came of it…
Around this time, he wrote the classic Queen song, “Love of My Life.” It was Freddy Mercury’s song dedicated to Mary Austin. It’s an incredible song and was released in 1975 as part of their hit album, “Night at the Opera.” The album went to #4 in the US and was a #1 hit in the UK.
It is well documented that Mary was seen as Freddy Mercury’s common-law wife. Even after they split, he still considered her to be irreplaceable. His subsequent lovers would ask him why they could not take her place. Freddie was steadfast that it was impossible and that she was the only true friend he ever had and the only person he could really trust.
Part of this reasoning may well come from the fact that when he first met her, he was still very much unknown. Therefore, at the point of going their separate ways, he knew that she had previously been attracted to him not for his celebrity but for him as a person. Consequently, he would have known that any emotions between them were real, and a strong emotional bond thus continued.
So, what happened, and why did they split up?
Essentially, Freddie Mercury was struggling with his sexuality. At the time he met Mary, it was still illegal in the UK to engage in homosexual activity. Consequently, being true to your natural inclinations was no easy matter.
However, as the 70s emerged, Freddie Mercury slowly began to embrace his sexuality and began experimenting with relationships with other men. Ultimately, by the mid-70s, this led him to finally admit to Mary Austin that he had engaged in intimate acts with men. More specifically, he confessed to a relationship with David Minns, who was an Elektra Records record producer.
At this point…
It is thought that Freddie Mercury considered himself bi-sexual. However, this was a moot point. The result of his confession and sexual choices led to the end of Mary Austin and Freddy Mercury’s relationship.
In the aftermath, Freddie and Mary Austin, despite the heartache, remained great friends. In turn, Freddie ensured that she was financially provided for. As part of this arrangement, he bought her a nearby home in Kensington.
Marriage and Children
Following her split from Freddie Mercury, Mary went on to get married in 1990 to the painter Piers Cameron. Sadly, the marriage only lasted for three years, with little known as to the reasons for their divorce. More happily, during this short period, they had two children together, Richard and Jamie.
So, just how close were Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin? One big sign was that Freddie became Richard’s godfather. Some commentators have surmised that their continuing relationship was a deciding factor in the ending of Mary and Piers’s marriage. Frankly, this is probably very accurate.
Mary subsequently moved on…
And in 1998, she got married for the second time to Nicholas Holford. This was also a short-lived affair, as the couple only stayed together for two years. They had no children together and soon after divorced. Mary Austin has since not remarried and has chosen to live as a single woman.
Interestingly, Mary has stated that when Freddie Mercury died, except for her two sons, she lost her entire family. This gives a lot of credence to the claims that Freddie’s constant presence in her life may have caused the deterioration of all her subsequent relationships. I mean, who wants to be the third spoke in a wheel?
Freddie Mercury’s Death
Freddie Mercury is thought to have contracted AIDS sometime in the 80s. Sadly, this is what would ultimately kill him. Unfortunately, at the time he contracted AIDS, research, and development into drugs that could treat and prolong life were very much in their infancy.
AZT was only just available. But, it was essentially not very effective and caused as many problems, if not more, than it solved. Consequently, with a lack of any decent treatment protocols, Freddie lost his battle with the disease and passed away on the 24th of November 1991.
When Freddie Mercury, the “Bohemian Rhapsody” singer, finally passed away, it would be Mary Austin and his close friend Dave Clarke who would be at his side. Another sign, if ever one was needed, that Freddie Mercury and Mary Austin had an unbreakable bond.
Freddie Mercury’s Will
As in life, Freddie also took good care of Mary Austin in death. He also took good care of his family and friends. Half of his fortune (which is estimated to be worth another $50 million) went to Mary Austin, and he also left her his beloved Kensington mansion. This is estimated to have a value of around $25 million.
Freddie left half the rest of his fortune to his parents and sister. Plus, he either bought houses or gave over $500,000 to each of his close friends. However, in all of this, it was ultimately Mary who still received the lion’s share.
Interestingly, as I write this, Mary Austin has decided to auction off much of Freddie Mercury’s Pop memorabilia. The auction will go ahead this year and will be undertaken by Sotheby’s of London. There will be a total of over 1,500 pieces on the auction block.
Along with things like his regal coat and crown…
Some of the prize items in the catalog will include handwritten lyrics for his monster hit, “We Are the Champions,” which was released in 1977 from Queen’s sixth studio album, “News of the World.” This item alone is expected to raise at least $250,000 but could sell for considerably more. The entire auction is expected to raise around $10 million.
Mary Austin is already an incredibly rich woman. And, true to her nature and personality, she will be donating some of the proceeds to charities set up in the names of Elton John and Freddie Mercury. These are the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Mercury Phoenix Trust, respectively. I am sure Freddie will be looking down and nodding in approval.
So, “Who is Mary Austin? Where is she now?”
Mary Austin is the ex-lover, and in all but the eyes of the law, the ex-wife of singing legend Freddie Mercury. Even in death, she was the one he trusted to follow his exact wishes of where his ashes were to be scattered. Today, she is still the only person to know where Freddie Mercury has been laid to rest. She has maintained her silence and kept Freddie Mercury’s trust.
Mary is now a highly private person who still lives in Freddie’s old mansion in Kensington. However, she has now chosen to sell the memories of the past and move on with her life. She is a person who dedicates herself to her family. Mary also dedicated her life to AIDS charities that are committed to combating and eventually eradicating the scourge caused by HIV and AIDS.
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Who is Mary Austin? Where Is She Now? – Final Thoughts
In many ways, this has been the perfect time to take a closer look at the life of Mary Austin. That is because only now has Mary Austin chosen to part with all her treasured memories that have no doubt helped her to maintain a physical closeness to her ex-lover, Freddie Mercury.
Her loyalty to Freddie Mercury is extraordinary. This level of devotion makes it understandable as to why he was so devoted in return. I hope Mary Austin finds happiness in the future. And, hopefully, one day, she will be reunited with Freddie in the happiest of circumstances.
Until next time, enjoy the music.