Freddie died on this same weekend in November, 1991. By the Saturday evening, he was fading fast and would pass peacefully the following night. He 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 bedbound, diminished and frail. By chance, his boyfriend caught him in his garden, just weeks before, and these beautiful images show Freddie one last time, dressed in his nicest clothes in the sunshine, smiling.
What makes it so wonderful is that Freddie chose the moment and it was captured forever.
Hutton recalled he was photographing some of the gorgeous flowers in the West Kensington mansion’s garden, while he thought Freddie was resting inside. Suddenly, the Queen star appeared, smartly dressed and groomed. Even then, conscious of how his appearance had been affected by his illness, he asked to be snapped at a small distance.
The pictures below are a precious and emotional reminder of the man’s great spirit as fans mourn on the anniversary of his loss. What he is wearing also sends a powerful message as does the faithful companion standing at his side.
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE INTIMATE FINAL PICTURES OF FREDDIE MERCURY
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The pictures are also a moving echo of one of the earliest pictures of Freddie at home in his much more modest 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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On August 28th 1991, exactly 28 years ago today, Jim Hutton took these photos of Freddie at Garden Lodge …his last ever known photographs. “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. 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.” -Jim Hutton . P.S. Seeing these photos and reading those words by Jim always pains me beyond words… but I share them not to focus on his illness (please don’t do that) but to show how he always saw the beauty in every moment and his smile and bravery never waverd…. I love the fact that a cat (who looks like Oscar) is standing next to Freddie and I’d like to think he was having a good time amidst the bloom of the flowers of his beautiful garden… But most importantly, despite the sadness, I’m still in awe and admiration for Freddie and his superhuman courage to face life head on and muster a smile even through his hardest moments. His smile always stayed on and in that way he even mocked his illness. My hero… This man is a source of inspiration on so many levels and I love him for that… ❤ . #FreddieMercury #lastphoto
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“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 made. His close friend and live-in PA, Peter Freestone described to Express Online how casual Freddie liked to be at home, even in full health.
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Peter says: “Freddie at home alone with us would be sitting in a mismatched tracksuit on the sofa watching Countdown…
“There were many layers. Friends would come to lunch and a slightly different Freddie Mercury would appear. It was more real and playful than you would see with the fans outside the door but still different, slightly dialled up and switched on.
“He loved entertaining friends. He would put on a matching tracksuit…”
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.
The film Bohemian Rhapsody shows how Freddie created his beautiful West Kensington home, and also how much he doted on his darling cats.
The star had at least ten through his adult life and six were there with him at the end – Delilah, Goliath, Lily, Miko, Oscar and Romeo.
It may well be Oscar there in that last photograph.
It was fitting that Freddie spent his very last days in his beloved sanctuary with his dearest friends, feline and human, constantly by his side.
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