George Harrison’s First Wife Didn’t Attend His Funeral, but She Still Quietly Honored Him

George Harrison and his first wife, Pattie Boyd, divorced in 1977, but they kept their relationship friendly after their separation. Pattie Boyd was devastated by Harrison’s death, but she wasn’t able to attend his funeral or the tribute concert for him the following year. Still, she said that she was able to take a moment to honor her former husband. She explained that she was happy to have been able to do this on her own.

A black and white picture of George Harrison with his arm around his first wife Pattie Boyd.
Pattie Boyd and George Harrison | Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

George Harrison’s first wife worked on the first Beatles film

Boyd and Harrison met on the set of the first Beatles film, A Hard Day’s Night. He proposed to her that same day, but they actually became engaged roughly two years later. It was Christmas, 1965

A black and white picture of Pattie Boyd and George Harrison sitting with their noses touching.
Pattie Boyd and George Harrison | Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images

“We were just motoring along, listening to the radio when suddenly he very calmly told me he loved me and wanted us to get married,” Boyd said, per the book Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual And Musical Journey Of George Harrison by Joshua Greene. “I think I just said yes or some such nonsense. But believe me, inside I was doing cartwheels. We really were very much in love.”

Three weeks later, the couple got married in a ceremony at a registry office in Surrey.

She took a quiet moment to reflect on their relationship after his death

Harrison and Boyd divorced in 1977, but they maintained a friendly relationship in the years after their split. Boyd even said that Harrison became something like an older brother to her. Both remarried — Harrison to Olivia Arias and Boyd to Eric Clapton — but they remained in each other’s lives at some level. 

Boyd was devastated after Harrison’s death, but she was unable to attend the services in his honor.

“His funeral was in Los Angeles,” she wrote in the book Wonderful Tonight. “I didn’t go, but I was invited to the memorial concert, which took place a year later in the Royal Albert Hall, organized by Eric [Clapton]. I couldn’t go: I had booked a spiritual holiday in Peru.”

Boyd said she could still take a moment to honor her former husband. 

“Instead, I watched it on video,” she wrote. “On the day, I took myself away from the rest of the group and spent the day high in the mountains, thinking of George, the tears trickling down my face. I was happy to mourn him alone and in my own way.”

George Harrison’s first wife said she doesn’t think she’ll ever stop missing him

Boyd feels that she will miss Harrison for the rest of her life. 

George Harrison kneels on a beach and Pattie Boyd sits on his back.
Pattie Boyd and George Harrison | Express Newspapers/Getty Images

“You never know with grief how long it will last, but I think I’ll miss him for the rest of my life,” she wrote. “We shared so much and grew up spiritually together and there are so many things that no one else knows about that we did together; and for many years there were so many questions I wanted to ask him and so many things I needed to speak to him about.”

Boyd saw Harrison in the months before his death, and is grateful for their final moments together.

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