Other topics that might be interesting for you
Freddie Mercury's personal assistant
Peter Freestone has been an active participant in Freddie Tours, the guided tours offered in Montreux since 2020.
Peter Freestone’s voice will accompany the visitors of the English version during this city tour with a guide who takes you on the footsteps of Freddie Mercury in Montreux.
About Peter Freestone
Peter Freestone was born in Surrey, England on January 8, 1955. He spent his first 6 years in the south of the British capital. He started nursery school at Lushington Hall in South India, then returned to England five years later.
In 1973, at the age of 19, Peter Freestone finished his studies. He had a traineeship as a catering manager at Selfridges, a London department shop, where he became the youngest assistant manager in the company.
In 1975, he changed his horizons and began working part-time at London's famous Royal Opera House. Two years later, in 1977, he was hired full time as wardrobe manager for the Royal Ballet.
In 1979, he met Freddie Mercury who was the guest of honour at a Royal Ballet charity gala. The Queen's singer played "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" on stage that evening, accompanied by numerous dancers. Peter exchanged a few words with Freddie Mercury that evening following his performance. Freddie was interested in the nature of his work and questioned him about it.
Three weeks later Peter Freestone received a call from Freddie's then manager Paul Prenter, who offered him the opportunity to work for Queen and take care of their stage costumes during their upcoming English "Crazy Tour". Peter accepted the offer.
Beginning of the collaboration with Freddie Mercury
A great friendship quickly developed between the two people and Phoebe (Freddie Mercury's nickname for him) officially becomes the singer's personal assistant a year later in 1980.
Peter Freestone says, "For twelve years I was in close contact with Freddie on an almost daily basis, taking on a multitude of different roles day after day. I was the handyman, waiter, butler, secretary, cleaner, babysitter and responsible for his personal correspondence. I was with him when he was at the top, just as I was present during the empty periods. I saw the inspiration and I saw his frustration when things were at their worst. I was his bodyguard when necessary and, in the end, of course, I was one of his "nurses".”
Peter traveled around the world and followed Freddie on his constant trips and on all the tours he does with Queen. One of his trips took him to the French-speaking part of Switzerland, to the shores of Lake Geneva: Phoebe discovered Montreux for the first time in 1981.
This peaceful Swiss city brought peace to Freddie Mercury's mind and soul: "He needed it to finish the recording work he had started and to which he wanted to devote himself until his death," he says.
After the death of Freddie Mercury
Peter Freestone's work as personal assistant to Freddie Mercury ended three months after the singer's death in 1991.
Since then, Peter Freestone has had several occupations. He worked at Guy's Hospital in London, then opened a small hotel before becoming, for a time, the director of an opera company.
In 1995, after much hesitation, he devoted six months to writing his first book, which he published with David Evans. "Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir by the Man Who Knew Him Best" was officially released in 1998. According to Peter, it is the result of more than 3 years of therapy. His second book focuses on what happened with the Queen singer after his death and the interest that fans have in Freddie Mercury and his music.
In 2016, Peter released a new book on Freddie Mercury's favourite recipes. The book contains a selection of his favourite dishes, illustrated with numerous photographs, as well as various anecdotes and memories of Peter Freestone's cooking for Freddie Mercury. The singer is known as much for his eccentricity as for his exacting standards, a character that was found as much in his approach to music and fashion as in his approach to food. Freddie Mercury was very secretive about his private life so few people knew what he really liked to eat and drink or what his favourite meal was. "Freddie Mercury's Royal Recipes" was previewed in Montreux during the Freddie Celebration Days 2016.
Peter Freestone officially obtained his Czech citizenship in August 2020. He currently lives in a village in the Czech Republic, a few hours drive from Prague. He works as a teacher in a school not far from his home. He is an active participant in the Titanic Freddie Aids project. Created jointly with Milan Satnik, the TFA project is mainly aimed at schools. Its aim is to raise awareness and prevention among young pupils about the still very present dangers of HIV and AIDS.
Peter "Phoebe" Freestone returns regularly to Montreux where he has been participating for many years in the Freddie Celebration Days, an event organized around 5 September, Freddie Mercury's birthday.