Could we possibly love Freddie Mercury any more than we do already? Actually, we can as we celebrate what would have been his 73rd birthday today. Not only are we reminded yet again what a towering talent he was and a delightful human being, there is the added bonus of cooing over these absolutely adorable pictures of Freddie (christened Farrock) as a baby, toddler and fresh-faced schoolboy back in Stone Town, where he was born. It’s safe to say that many babies can look rather the same, but Freddie was utterly unique even then.
Farrock Bulsara was born to Bomi and Jer Bulsara at Zanzibar’s Government Hospital on 5 September 1946. The island of Zanzibar lies just off the coast of the East African nation on Tanzania, which was a British colony at the time called Tanganyika.
Bomi worked for the British colonial government as a cashier at the High Court. The family had a relatively affluent lifestyle and employed domestic servants, as well as a nanny called Sabine, for young Farrock and, six years later, his sister Kashmira.
The family lived in the Zanzibar district known as Stone Town, in a flat overlooking the sea. The building has been turned into a hotel, with a sign proudly displaying who once lived there.
A selection of pictures show a smiling baby and young boy Farrock in a variety of costumes and outfits.
What is immediately noticeable is that he had not yet started to hide his teeth.
Later in life, he was self-conscious of his unusually large front teeth, often smiling with his mouth closed or covering his mouth with his hand when he spoke.
The pictures also show Freddie as a schoolboy in uniform, proudly sitting with a large trophy.
As a young boy, Farrock attended the local Zanzibar Missionary School but was sent thousands of miles away aged 8 to St Peter’s Church of England school in Panchgani, a former British Raj hill station south-east of Bombay – known today as Mumbai.
Although he was so far from home, Farrock’s aunt and grandparents lived in Mumbai.
His love of music flourished in Mumbai and he even formed his first band, the Hectics.
Freddie returned to Zanzibar in 1963, when it obtained independence. The increasingly unstable political situation prompted his parents to move the family to the UK in 1974 when thousands died in a revolution.
Aged 18, Farrock was about to take his first steps towards becoming Freddie Mercury.
IMAGES FROM JER BULSARA’S COLLECTION ORIGINALLY SHOWN IN ITV DOCUMENTARY A KIND OF MAGIC