Freddie was a fighter. Even when he had been given the worst possible news, it just made him dream bigger and chase his greatest dreams harder. Peter Freestone was the Queen legend’s PA for the last 12 years of his life. He lived with the star at One Garden Lodge and was there in his final hours. In an exclusive interview with Express Online, he described some of the extraordinary moments in the final few years and how Freddie was determined to live fully until the end doing what he loved most. This included one of the happiest days of his entire life. SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH FREDDIE TALK ABOUT IT IN HIS LAST EVER FILMED INTERVIEW
Peter describes extraordinary Freddie’s reaction to his AIDS diagnosis: “He said, ‘Never regret anything. You’re wasting time when you can’t change it. Get on with what you want to do. He thought he was sick in 1986 and it was confirmed in 1987.
“He didn’t get depressed. He wasn’t afraid. It was a fact he was going to die. In those days there was absolutely nothing could change that. So he got on with his music. He did so much in those last four years.”
One thing, in particular, brought Freddie incredible joy and pride when he was able to briefly but spectacularly become part of the world of opera.
Freddie would attend the opera whenever he could but also play arias at home, either alone or when friends came around.
He never dreamed he would one day collaborate with one of opera’s greatest legends, Montserrat Caballé, who died on October 6,2018. Their track Barcelona and subsequent album was an iconic musical moment but also extremely special to Freddie.
Peter remembers: “After he got Montserrat Caballé to sing with him, what more could he want? That was the nearest I’ve seen him to tears, after her first take on the first track. He was so happy. He said to me, ‘The greatest voice in the world is singing my music.’”
Freddie said in the 1987 documentary Lover of Life, Singer of Songs. “I went to Barcelona on a TV show and I said she’s the best singer in the world and I’d love to sing with her and she must have seen it. She called up the office and said she’s like to do things.
“It’s amazing. I’m into opera now. Forget rock and roll. It’s such a challenge, I’ve never thought of writing songs like that. I’m sure the opera critics will slam it but it’s a good challenge at this time in life.”
The unlikely couple arranged to meet up in Barcelona in February 1987 and music history was created, with the title track Barcelona planned to be the opening number for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
Of course, tragically, the Queen star wouldn’t live to perform the song in front of a billion people at the Games.
But at the time, Freddie confessed it was all turning out to exceed his wildest dreams: “I just thought (we would do) maybe one song or a duet… She said ‘how many songs does a rock n roll album have?’ and I said something like ten. She said, ‘Yes, ten songs, write ten songs.'”