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Pattie Boyd Remembers Last Meeting with Ex-Husband George Harrison Before He Died

Photo Credit: Keystone/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images
Photo Credit: Keystone/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

At the height of The Beatles’ music career, famous 1960s model Pattie Boyd was married to lead guitarist George Harrison. Although it was not destined to last romantically, the former couple remained close well into their later years. They’d frequently visit each other and keep in touch in other ways. In the lead-up to the release of her photographic memoir, Pattie Boyd: My Life in Pictures, she got candid with People about the last time she saw her ex-husband before his death.

‘A Hard Day’s Night’

When Pattie Boyd was just 19 she accepted a role in The Beatles’ movie, A Hard Day’s Night, and met her future husband. New to acting, she was incredibly nervous. Her role – uttering the single line “Prisoners?!” – clearly went off without a hitch, as Boyd and Harrison were married by 1966. They divorced in 1977, having separated in 1974.

Pattie Boyd in a dress over a collared shirt and tie stands with The Beatles and their drum set.
Patti Boyd and The Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon, during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night at The Scala Theatre, 1964. (Photo Credit: Max Scheler – K & K/ Redferns/ Getty Images)

Despite their love for each other, the two ended up parting ways for a number of reasons: Harrison’s numerous affairs, his increased use of drugs, and a growing distance between the couple. The end of their relationship also coincided with the band’s famously tumultuous period, which caused issues that Boyd says her then-husband brought home with him.

The split was very amicable – to the point that when Boyd began a relationship with Eric Clapton soon after, the three spent Christmas together and the Beatles even played a song at their eventual wedding.

Their final meeting

It was only a few months before Harrison’s death in 2001 that he decided to pay Boyd a visit. She said, “He came with some little gifts and we played music and had some tea. It was lovely to see him, but I knew he wasn’t well. I sensed that he wanted to see me rather than leave it too late.” Later in the day, they took a walk around the garden at her house where he pointed out that “the flowers are shivering.”

Pattie Boyd in a blue dress standing beside a framed photo of George Harrison shirtless in bed.
Pattie Boyd with a photo she took of George Harrison when they were together used in an exhibition in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 2005. (Photo Credit: Rob Verhorst/ Redferns/ Getty Images)

This was the last time that the former couple would see each other. Harrison died on November 29, 2001 after losing his battle with cancer. He had been diagnosed in 1997 but decided to keep it from his family and friends, instead choosing to arrange final visits without telling them why. It’s probably that many of them, like Boyd, suspected something was amiss.

Remembering their relationship

In a previous memoir released in 2007, Wonderful Tonight, Boyd spoke openly about how she felt after finding out Harrison was gone. “I burst into tears when I heard he had died; I felt completely bereft. I couldn’t bear the thought of a world without George.”

George Harrison in a blue pin stripe suit puts his arm around Pattie Boyd, wearing a red knit beret and matching jacket.
George Harrison hugs his bride Patti Boyd following their marriage at the register office in Epsom, January 21, 1966. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

She continued, “I think I’ll miss George for the rest of my life. I would have incredibly vivid dreams that he was alive. Then I would wake up and reality would wash over me.”

More from us: George Harrison’s Bittersweet Last Words To Ringo Starr

In her interview with People, Boyd remembered him just as fondly. She believes there are several soulmates out there for each person, indicating that Harrison was one of hers: “Just because things didn’t work out as we planned, it didn’t diminish our love for each other.”

Rosemary Giles

Rosemary Giles is a history content writer with Hive Media. She received both her bachelor of arts degree in history, and her master of arts degree in history from Western University. Her research focused on military, environmental, and Canadian history with a specific focus on the Second World War. As a student, she worked in a variety of research positions, including as an archivist. She also worked as a teaching assistant in the History Department.

Since completing her degrees, she has decided to take a step back from academia to focus her career on writing and sharing history in a more accessible way. With a passion for historical learning and historical education, her writing interests include social history, and war history, especially researching obscure facts about the Second World War. In her spare time, Rosemary enjoys spending time with her partner, her cats, and her horse, or sitting down to read a good book.