Freddie Mercury would have been 69-years-old today. As the frontman of rock superstar band Queen, Freddie was a legend. Mercury’s flamboyant performances earned him the adoration of fans across the world, and many people still lament the loss of one of rock music’s best loved stars. Freddie died back in 1991 as a result of Aids-related pneumonia. Freddie was just 45-years-old at the time of his death.
Freddie was hedonistic in the extreme, but away from the limelight, he was reportedly quite shy. As you would expect, he had a large number of rich and famous friends including much publicized friendships with Princess Diana and comedian Kenny Everett. Comedian Cleo Rocos was another of Freddie’s friends. Pink News reports that in her autobiography, Rocos tells the story of how she, Freddie, and Kenny Everett dressed Princess Diana in drag and took her drinking in one of London’s most famous gay bars.
Rocos says that the four were drinking in Everett’s house when they decided to go to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, one of London’s most flamboyant gay bars. Mercury dressed Diana in an army jacket, a leather cap concealing her hair, and dark aviator sunglasses so that they could sneak her into the bar without her being recognized. Rocos says that Freddie and the others examined the dressed up princess and agreed that in bad light, she would pass for an “eccentrically dressed gay male model.”
When Freddie, Diana, and the others arrived at the bar, it was packed with leather clad gay men. Freddie and Diana were giggling as they made their way to the bar. Diana ordered a wine and a beer, and no one recognized the princess, who at the time was the most famous person in the world.
“Never has going to a bar been quite so exhilarating and fun. We then made a swift exit, a cab was hailed and we whisked Diana back to Kensington Palace. The jolly queens queuing outside unknowingly waved back as their ‘queen of hearts’ waved goodbye. Not a single person ever found us out.”
Diana was patron of the National AIDS Trust at a time when HIV and AIDS were surrounded by hysteria and prejudice. Sadly, both Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett died as a result of AIDS-related illness.
Freddie was born in Zanzibar and his birth name was Farrokh Bulsara, but according to Clash Music, even his passport bore the name Freddie Mercury. Calling him anything other than Freddie was not well received. On the anniversary of his birth, many people will pause to reflect on just how much Freddie Mercury is missed.
[Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]