Peter wasn’t just Freddie’s PA for the last twelve years of his life, he was a close friend who shared every part of his life. He went wherever Freddie went, moving to Germany with him in the early 1980s and then living with the star at One Garden Lodge in Kensington until the very end. He was one of the few people told about Freddie’s HIV diagnosis in 1987 and he was there at his friend’s bedside when he died on November 24, 1991.
Peter spoke exclusively to The Express about Freddie’s strength and the incredible way he faced the knowledge he was going to die for over four years.
He said: “When Freddie received the diagnosis – 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 that could change that.
“So he got on with his music. He did so much in those last four years, much more than in the years just before that.
“He told me, ‘Never regret anything. You’re wasting time when you can’t change it. Get on with what you want to do.'”
Queen bandmates Brian May and Roger Taylor have spoken about Freddie’s determination to record as much music as he could, coming into the band’s studio’s in Lausanne, Switzerland, for a few hours at a time, even as his strength was failing.
Peter also revealed how happy Freddie’s collaboration with Montserrat Caballe on the Barcelona album made him.
Peter said: “He couldn’t believe that the greatest voice in the world was singing with him. It was as close to tears as I ever saw him. It gave him so much joy.”
Peter told Express Online about their very last moments together: “The final time I saw him he took my hand and said ‘thank you.’ I didn’t know if he had decided that was it, he was going, there was nothing to stay alive for.
“I don’t know if he was thanking me for everything over the twelve years or just for that last shift. I suppose it doesn’t really matter. But the last time I saw him he was relaxed and prepared.”
Although doctors said the star could live for some days more, Peter believes that Freddie chose to let go.
Peter added: “We all knew it could not be too long, but Freddie’s doctor had said that he could be with us for quite a few days longer. I tend to feel that Freddie had decided he had had enough and it was time to go under his own terms.”
Jim Hutton was there by the bed on the Saturday evening when the star slipped into a coma and Dave Clark was at the bedside vigil on the Sunday when he died.
It was Mary Austin who phoned Mercury’s parents and sister to break the news, which reached newspaper and television crews around the world in the early hours of Monday, November 25, 1991.
Freddie Mercury was gone but would never be forgotten.