Freddie’s former fiancee hits ‘Rhapsody’ jackpot
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.