A Real Live Beatle Marries a
By John Howard
"The inside story of George Harrison's marriage to Patti Boyd, as told to us by his mother and mother-in-law!"
I had been told by George Harrison, Sr., to get in touch with the Warrington police to find out the secret location of the 40,000-pound sterling bungalow that Beatle George Harrison had given his parents to celebrate his wedding.Accompanied by two plainclothes policemen, we drove from liverpool through Lancashire and Warrington to Cheshire.
Alas, the yellow-and-blue eaved bungalow, situated on the rolling Cheshire plain, looked deserted, and the bottles of milk were piling up on the front doorstep. A few telephone calls later, I learned that Mr. and Mrs. Harrison's plane had not been able to leave Heathrow airport because of snow on the runway, and were returning to the Liverpool area by train the following day.
An interview with George's mum-in-law, Mrs. Gaymer-Jones, awaited me at Wimbledon the following morning, so I flew off from Speke Airport. I expected Diana Gaymer-Jones to be rather dishy from the intriguing wedding photographs I had seen. So my jaw dropped a few inches when the door to the modern, terraced house in Strathmore Road was opened by a youngish version of Honor Blackman (of Pussy Galore fame).
"Come in, Mr. Howard." she said. "You're just in time for coffee - how many sugars?" Diana Gaymer-Jones had just been collating press clippings of her doll-like daughter, Patti's wedding. So minutes later she was relating details of the romance that culminated in the wedding of the second last Beatle.
"George proposed to Patti on the night of their first date. It was love at first sight for both of them. The evening before, Patti had come home from work on the film A Hard Day's Night to tell me that she had met george Harrison and that he had asked her out. She had to refuse him, however, because, up to that point, she had a steady boyfriend and couldn't cancel a date with him just like that. Still, George wasn't to be daunted: He proposed to pat many times after that.
"It was so exciting the day she told me that she would like to bring George home to dinner. The children and I loved him immediately. He's such a fine boy and such a gentleman.
"And it all happened before we knew it. There was never any engagement or engagement ring - both Patti and george just knew they were going to get married eventually, so they felt that an engagement was unimportant. But, I am pleased that my daughter decided not to marry too young. Pat told me a long time ago that she didn't want to get married until she was 21. I was really relieved because, you see, my first marriage took place when I was very young. Unfortunately both my marriages failed. So I was pleased that Pat was so sensible.
"I first learned of the 'engagement' in a very casual way. Two Wednesdays ago, while we were driving to the theater, Pat told me very off-handedly, that she and george had decided to name the day. I nearly died of excitement. But I kept it a secret from all except two or three of my close friends - other than the members of the family, of course.
"The children were really marvelous about keeping the secret too. Patti was originally going to have a short white fox fur by Mary Quant, but then decided on the red one. And she bought me a lynx fur hat for Christmas, which I wore to the wedding. Later on at the reception, though, I took off the hat and let my hair down. The suit I wore - I'm wearing the skirt right now, incidentally - was from Ely's, a store here at Wimbledon where I worked, as a temporary before the Christmas rush.
"The morning of the wedding, the 'Princess' pulled up to the front door, Patti, her brothers and sisters, and I, were as excited as we could be. We drove to Epsom, arriving there before George, and were ushered inside. My brother, John Drysdale, who is managing director of Africa Research Ltd., was there to give the bride away. Two of our relatives were still expected. Brian Epstein, Beatle manager, started to get a bit nervous and suggested we get on with it.
"It all went so swiftly. There was no music - I'm sure I would have cried if there had been. When the rest of our relatives arrived, we all drove off to george and Patti's new home at Esher to celebrate."
"What did it feel like to have a daughter married to a millionaire?" I asked curiously. Diana replied, "We've never even thought of George like that. I never did believe money meant much at all. After having so many children, though, I realised that money is a necessary part of life. (Diana's other five children are, Colin, 20; Jennise, 18; she's a model, has visited the United States with Patti, and as a result gets lots of Beatle mail addressed to her; Paula, 16; David, 12, and Robert, 10.)
"I must admit I am pleased to know that Pat will be comfortable and won't have to coo and scrub the floors. Of course, George and Patti have this wonderful housekeeper of George's, Margaret, to look after them. Margaret is a treasure. She doesn't live in but comes by each day to do the housework and prepare meals. Patti will plan the meals and cook the special delicacies for things like dinner parties.
"I must tell you, the wedding presents are piling up. The children and I gave Patti and George a silver dressing-table set. My brother gave them two Chinese vases that are about three feet high and have been in the family for generations, and Patti gave George two silver goblets. They are George III 1700 circa, I think. 'Mummie,' Pat said to me wonderingly, 'they mst have been awfully expensive.' "
The mother of the bride is always happy when her daughter has made a good match - but it's sometimes sad for the mother of the groom. And Mrs. Louise Harrison in Warrington was no exception.
That evening I was finally able to reach her by phone, "Mrs. Harrison" I felt compelled to say, "you sound so sad. Don't tell me you're feeling a little down in the dumps about losing a son?"
"Well," replied george's motherly Mum. "I have got to admit it, John, I do feel a little sad right now, now that the excitement of the wedding has died down. Then, too, I had a fall and hurt my arm just a few days before the wedding, and I really haven't been so well since." "I'm sorry to hear that." I said. "You see, I'm doing a story on the wedding. Would you mind terribly if I asked you a few questions?"
"Not at all, John, go ahead."
"Do you mind if I do the story based on our telephone call?"
"Certainly," she said. "Go right ahead." And she began.
"The wedding happened so quickly. George told us it was going to take place, but we didn't know when. Then only four days in advance, we got word of the exact date. It's a shame our daughter, Louise, couldn't come over from America, but we couldn't cable or phone her for fear the news would leak out. No celebration was planned for after the wedding, and we couldn't tell george's two brothers Harry and Peter and their wives about it ahead of time, either.
"Nothing happened exactly the way it was planned. Mr. Epstein thought there would be a brief ceremony and that would be all. Harry and peter didn't know about it until the last moment, and by then it was too late for them to come down.
"But George is planing a second wedding celebration, just for family, when he comes home to Liverpool with his bride. George is very thoughtful. It was so generous of him to give us this lovely home as a surprise. It's very much like his own bungalow. he has one large living room, which we don't have, and an extra bathroom, but the main difference is we have a room upstairs as well. But most important, george has got himself a lovely bride who will look after him well. Patti's a great cook, too. George likes good English cooking - like roast chicken and legs of lamb - and patti knows how to cook for him.
"They are an ideal pair and I'm sure they'll be so happy together. They have had lots of cables from fans saying how pleased they are about the wedding, and there was loads and loads of mail from the fans waiting when they got home from London.
"George and Patti wanted to keep the wedding a secret, and John and Ringo's going away served as a cover-up. Mr. Epstein and Paul were both best men, but it was Mr. Epstein and my husband who actually signed the register as witnesses. "I must admit I am pleased to know that Pat will be comfortable and won't have to coo and scrub the floors. Of course, George and Patti have this wonderful housekeeper of George's, Margaret, to look after them. Margaret is a treasure. She doesn't live in but comes by each day to do the housework and prepare meals. Patti will plan the meals and cook the special delicacies for things like dinner parties.
"We were a bit worried before the wedding, because a reporter came out to george's place at 6 A.M. and waited there for us to come out. George had to deny that he was getting married. Then the reporter's car followed us through the fog all the way up to the place at Epsom." (Luckily for the wedding party, the reporter took his photographer along, and Brian Epstein allowed him to take shots inside the Registry Office to supplement photographs taken by the Beatles' official photographer. Just as well, because none of the official photos of the actual ceremony turned out).
"We're pleased that everyone has been so happy about the wedding," said Mrs. Harrison. Meanwhile on the first days of their honeymoon as Esher two people were very happy for the sake of George's fans.
"The fans have been just wonderful to us," said Patti. "They are used to it all by now. Fans are more sensible and sensitive than most people realise, and they've showed us they love George and the other Beatles for themselves." To a query about the possibility of future Beatle babies, George replied, "We have got some definite ideas on how to bring up children." "In a year or so we shall probably start a family," he added. "and we'll try to keep our children with us as much as possible. But at the same time we wouldn't want them to be mixed up with any publicity lark.
"But there's plenty of time to think about that," he concluded. "In the meantime, we are expecting to slip away on our honeymoon shortly."