Pattie Boyd: George had to ask Brian Epstein for permission to marry me
5th August 2007
The Daily Mail
On my first date with George we went to the Garrick Club in Covent Garden.
Brian Epstein, The Beatles' charismatic manager, came with us. He was slightly older, better educated and more worldly wise than John, Paul, George and Ringo.
He was also much more to them than a manager: he had discovered them in Liverpool, shaped them and harnessed their talent, but he had also become a father figure and kept a close eye on everything they did.
I didn't resent his presence on our first date – he was good company and seemed to know everything about wine, food and restaurants.
And perhaps if George and I, two young, shy people, had been on our own in such a grown-up restaurant, it would have been too intense.
As it was, we had a lovely evening and sat side by side on a banquette listening to Brian, hardly daring to touch each other's hand.
One evening in December 1965, George and I were driving through London when he said: 'Let's get married. I'll speak to Brian.'
He stopped the car outside Brian's house in Chapel Street, Belgravia, and rushed inside, leaving me in the car. He came back 15 minutes later and said: 'Brian says it's OK. Will you marry me? We can get married in January.'
'Oh, yes,' I said. 'That would be fabulous!' I was thrilled – but George had had to ask Brian's permission in case a Beatles tour was planned.
One of the best holidays George and I had was spent with Brian at his favourite place in the South of France, the Hotel Cap Estrelle near Eze. Brian took us to fantastic restaurants and to the casino in Monte Carlo, which was terribly glamorous.
Everyone dressed up – the women in cocktail dresses and the men in dinner jackets – and a huge amount of money changed hands. Brian looked very debonair and was also a successful gambler. He made everything possible for us; everything glorious.
Brian Epstein (second from right) with The Beatles. George asked Epstein for permission to marry Pattie
When The Beatles went to Bangor to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in August 1967, it was the first time they had gone anywhere without Brian being in charge. Brian had seemed interested in what Maharishi had to offer, but it was a Bank Holiday weekend and he was committed to spending it with friends. We were like children allowed into the park without their nanny. John said it was 'like going somewhere without your trousers on'.
It was while we were in Bangor that we received a telephone call telling us Brian, who was just 32, had died from a sleeping-pill overdose. It was the most dreadful moment. Paul and George were in shock: Brian was their friend, their enabler, their hero. He was irreplaceable.
We knew at that moment that life would never be the same again. After Brian's death The Beatles were like orphans, and that was when underlying tensions and resentments began to surface.