First and second pictures:
1990 - Pattie posing at her Chelsea flat on the Thames river (Source of scan is Alamy).
1990 - Pattie posing with her cats Molly and Polo at her Chelsea flat on the Thames river (Source of scan is the Forever Pattie Boyd group at Yahoo!). The photo accompaned the following article in the New Zealand Women’s Weekly, August 6, 1990:
Alone, Fortysomething and Celebrating Maturity
She has been married to two of the biggest names in rock. But her greatest wish - to have a baby - has been denied her. Now Pattie Boyd has a new venture, an agency for models over 40, and she looks to the future with confidence. June Southworth reports
SOMETHING in the way she moved attracted George Harrison like no other lover. Indeed, something in the way she moved him made George write one of rock’s great love songs about Pattie Boyd. She married him.
Then along came Eric Clapton, who thought she looked Wonderful Tonight and celebrated her in song. When he read the classic Persian love poem Layla and Majnoon, which is about the obsessive passion of a man for a married woman, he wrote his all-time favourite Layla, but for Layla read Pattie.
He wrested her from George. Legend has it that they played an all-night guitar duel for her hand. She married him too.
Today the Sixties Babe is alone with her memories, and for a forty-something they must be bitter-sweet.
In the 60’s people were old at 30. What held the whole ‘60’s ethos together was joy and energy of youth. Young designers sold their clothes at affordable prices. What appeared in the glossy magazines was what could be seen on the street. Unemployment meant taking a temporary job in a boutique or a spot of modelling, until you married a pop star of your dreams and had his babies. In Beatles parlance, life was Fab.
Pattie Boyd epitomised all that, blonde and leggy with a toothy, friendly grin, swinging along Lime Street or the King’s Road in a Mary Quant mini. Now she projects a distinctly upmarket version of that young woman. Age is a recurring leitmotif. She has sunk a substantial sum into a new model agency which is a celebration of maturity. All the models are over 40 and Pattie’s agency is rather coyly called Deja Vu.
There is little of deja vu about Pattie’s stunning home. It is three years since her marriage to Eric Clapton ended and his liaison with another woman produced the baby Pattie longed for; now he would find it difficult to break through the wall of self-sufficiency she has built here.
The feature wall of her living room is transparent and through the glass the Thames can be seen rolling by. The room is in tranquil pastels and Radio 3 is gently playing Mozart. The designer sheep has lost an ear, tugged off by an exuberant child rider on a visit, but no children interrupt the studied peace.
Even today Pattie is not afraid to pose beside a huge mirror. Her jawline is not as defined as it was, and there has been a fall of petals from the first bloom of youth that was a feature of her face, but she can still take pleasure in her image. She gave up modelling the day she made the cover of Vogue*, but clearly has not lost her touch.
(*NOTE - Pattie appeared on the cover of U.K. Vogue three times in 1969 alone and did not retire from modelling until 1974 at the earliest.)
Black stockings show off her long, shapely legs. She still has what designer Ossie Clark called her “glass ankles.” Who designed her tiny ra-ra skirted dress, with the Quant-like daisies? She fumbles for the label at the neck, with a flash of bright blue undies, and spells out “Un-gar-o.” Quant to Ungaro, the story of her life. Off-the-peg to haute couture.
Would she marry again if another legendary rock guitarist appeared on the horizon to twang her heart-strings? Her child-woman face breaks up. “Absolutely impossible! They’re all married, and I’m not into toy-boys.”
She is socially above the kiss-and-tell level; and any reaction to the names Harrison and Clapton has to be actively solicited. Eric Clapton said recently she was the only woman he had ever loved. “Did he?” she asks and her blue eyes widen like stable doors; then she bolts. “Well, George and Eric are still my friends. I see Eric more than I see George. But I have a friend now and Eric has a friend. Remarriage? I won’t go on getting married.”
“I love to listen to Something and Layla, and of course I get an internal thrill knowing they were written for me, but the moment passes. There are moments you’d like to bottle up and take out and look at every so often. I enjoy today and I will enjoy tomorrow. I haven’t got stuck in a ‘60’s groove.”
She was already a successful model when she landed a two-day shoot on the Beatle’s film A Hard Days Night, and fell in love with George Harrison. “I played a starstruck fan and was mortified because I had to meet the Beatles wearing school uniform. It didn’t seem five minutes since I had been wearing the real thing.”
What does she see now when she turns up her wedding day pictures, with herself and George in their Mary Quant his-and-hers fur coats? “I just see youth, and youth is so divine - I can’t believe I dressed like that - …fumbling to find their feet before blossoming into something. There is an innocence about youth that will never be regained, but it isn’t eternal.
“The hardest lesson I had to learn was a long time ago, coping with being left at boarding school at the beginning of every term. My family would have liked me to marry someone from the City but they were very fond of my husbands. When a marriage breaks up it’s not just yourselves you hurt.”
At least there were no children. That was the problem, however, not the consolation. “I wouldn’t say that not having children was a stumbling block in my marriages, but…” Her voice trails off and she summons a bright smile, a professional smile.
Within a year of marrying George in 1966 her modelling fees rose from three guineas ($10) to 15 guineas ($50) an hour. There were Twiggy and The Shrimp and next in line was Pattie Boyd, but at 26, she was ready to settle down and have babies. Nature did not oblige. She was ready to adopt. He, apparently, was not.
Putting extra pressure on the marriage was a besotted Clapton. When she tried to turn away from Eric, he turned on with exotic substances. “I suppose his obsession was good for the ego,” she says.
Eventually erratic Eric confronted gentle George. She neither confirms or denies that they duelled for her love all night, using their guitars like sword thrusts until their fingers were blurs on the string.
Marriage with George Harrison had lasted nine years. His second to Mexican-born Olivia, produced the longed-for son. Dhani (11) is heir to George’s $55 million-plus fortune.
A Sad Miscarriage
Pattie’s marriage to Eric still did not produce a child, only a sad miscarriage. She had rescued him from drugs and alcoholism - to this day she works for charities to rehabilitate victims of both - and there had been one reconciliation after six months apart, but after seven years she was alone again.
He had a romance with Italian photographer (sic -she’s a TV personality) Lory del Santo and produced a son, Conor, now three and living with his mother. Eric later left Lory for “a very young girl.”
“I enjoy life,” Pattie says. I enjoy my friends. Husbands come and go but friends are forever. I’m older but I hope wiser. The wisdom came from living life to the full. You can’t grow without experience. Being married is a good experience. Today I feel very enriched. I haven’t been married for three years and it took time to get back on my feet. Now I feel strong enough to resist doing it all again.”
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