Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor have performed in front of royalty on numerous occasions, including the 2002 Diamond Jubilee, which they headlined. They’ll perform for Queen Elizabeth and her Platinum Jubilee Party tonight, with new frontman Adam Lambert opening the show. When they weren’t busy stealing the stage with their own band, the couple sat with Charles and Diana at Live Aid in 1985 to watch some of the biggest names in music. Freddie, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found.
What was Freddie doing instead of being there, and why wasn’t he there?
Freddie’s close friend and long-time assistant, Peter Freestone, stated Freddie had ‘better’ things to do in an interview with Express Online.
He stated, “Even at Live Aid, you see Brian May and Roger Taylor in the royal box. Freddie didn’t go. He was more interested in being with friends backstage, talking with Elton John, hanging out with his people. His friends were always the most important to him.”
In fact, Freddie was busy talking up another famous male singer, U2 leader Bono, who was backstage at Wembley Stadium with his wife Ali Stewart, whom he had married in 1982, at the time of the scandalous encounter.
Bono described: “I was walking with Ali and Freddie Mercury pulled me aside and said: ‘Oh, Bo-No….is it Bo-No or Bon-O?’ I told him, ‘It’s Bon-O’. He said, ‘Come over here with me. We’ve all been talking, Roger [Daltrey] and Pete [Townshend] and David [Bowie], and we all agree there’s no singers any more, everyone is shouting these days, but you’re a singer.’
“I was up against a wall and he put his hand on the wall and was talking to me like he was chatting up a chick. He had me laughing but I was shifting nervously at the time, with Ali and myself exchanging glances.”
Of course, Freddie’s normal irrepressible sense of fun and playfulness was evident throughout.
At Live Aid, Freddie Was Joined By His Partner Jim Hutton
Once he accepted his sexuality, he was famous for teasing others and occasionally exaggerating his behaviour for effect, both on and off stage. Of course, Freddie didn’t mean anything by it.
At Live Aid, he was joined by his partner Jim Hutton. By that time, his friends and peers had come to terms with his sexuality.
Bob Geldof, the concert’s organiser, even joked about why the show was the right platform for Queen’s flamboyant superstar: “It was the perfect stage for Freddie: the whole world. And he could ponce about on stage doing We Are The Champions. How perfect could it get?”
There’s also a fascinating eyewitness account of Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana spending the night together in a London gay bar, with the princess dressed as a male. It was published after their deaths in 1991 and 1997, but it sounds like the kind of experience they would have enjoyed.