Fred­die’s for­mer fi­ancee hits ‘Rhap­sody’ jack­pot

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

IT WAS panned by crit­ics, but Bo­hemian Rhap­sody won Best Film at the Golden Globes and has made al­most £600 mil­lion ($A1.1 bil­lion) at the box of­fice.

Now the film, about the band Queen, will see Mary Austin, 67, the for­mer fi­ancee of lead singer Fred­die Mer­cury, scoop about £40 mil­lion ($A71 mil­lion) in roy­al­ties.

Ms Austin met Mer­cury in 1970 when she was a 19-year-old art stu­dent and they moved in to­gether be­fore he was fa­mous. Although their en­gage­ment ended when he told her he was gay, they re­mained close.

After his death in 1991, Mer­cury left her 50 per cent of his fu­ture earn­ings. A fur­ther 25 per cent went to his par­ents, and 25 per cent to his sis­ter.

Ms Austin’s share rose to 75 per cent after the death of Mer­cury’s par­ents. He also left her his 28-room £20 mil­lion ($A35.6 mil­lion) west London man­sion and the bulk of his £9 mil­lion ($A16 mil­lion) for­tune.

Ac­cord­ing to fi­nan­cial records, Queen’s fu­ture earn­ings are split be­tween Mer­cury’s es­tate and his three sur­viv­ing band­mates. It means Ms Austin re­ceives about 19 per cent.

In a rare in­ter­view six years ago, Ms Austin said in­her­it­ing the Mer­cury’s for­tune was a bur­den that had caused “bit­ter re­sent­ment”, not least among the band mem­bers.

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