Freddie Mercury | Sunday Observer

Freddie Mercury

He was the flamboyant frontman of Queen whose voice was studied by scientists, and who had a star named in his honour after his death.

While you are probably familiar with the music and myth of Freddie Mercury, here are five things you may not have been aware of.

1) He didn’t think he was a very good pianist.

Mercury dreaded live performances of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ because he thought he might mess up. For future songs, he began to use the piano less so he would have more freedom to move around during shows.

2) He dressed Princess Diana in drag and took her on a gay night out

TV comedian Cleo Rocos, who was a close friend of Mercury, wrote in her autobiography that Mercury managed to convinced Lady Di to go out for a drink at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

To avoid her being recognised, she dressed in an army coat, leather cap and some of Mercury’s mirrored sunglasses.

“Scrutinising her in the half light we decided that the most famous icon of the modern world might just - just - pass for a rather eccentrically dressed gay male model,” she wrote.

3) He loved his cats A LOT

While on tour Mercury would often call home so he could talk to them.

Mary Austin, his former girlfriend and close friend, would hold the cats up to the phone so they could hear him speak. He also wrote a song about his favourite, ‘Delilah’.

4) Mercury’s official passport read ‘Frederick Mercury’

Although his birth name was Farrokh Bulsara, Mercury did not respond well to being called anything other than Freddie - even before he arrived in England. He added the name ‘Mercury’ when Queen was formed.

5) His final resting place is a secret

Austin is reportedly the only person who knows the location of Mercury’s ashes.

Austin said he told her one day after Sunday lunch, when he knew he was dying: “I know exactly where I want you to put me. But no one’s to know, because I don’t want anyone to dig me up. I just want to rest in peace.”

His ashes were kept in an urn in Austin’s bedroom before she took them to the place he had asked her to.

“I said I was going for a facial,” she told the the press in 2013.

“I just sneaked out of the house... it had to be like a normal day so the staff wouldn’t suspect anything... No one will ever know where he is buried because that was his wish.”

He was an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind performer, but above all else, he was an incredible musician, responsible for some of the most played - and most memorable - songs of all time, including the classic single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

His musical legacy continues to this day, with everyone from Lady Gaga (who named herself after a Queen song) to Katy Perry citing Freddie as an influence.

Here we celebrate his life, just as he had lived it, with rare photos of him on and off stage doing what he did best, being the fabulously, outrageous Freddie.

Freddie Mercury died from AIDs-related bronchial pneumonia on November 24th, 1991.