Letters Revealed Intimacy

“Gay” Friendship Got Mortimer Booted From Oxford

Sir John Mortimer defended the Sex Pistols’ use of the word bollocks back in 1977, but he couldn’t defend himself in 1941. It’s during that year that Oxford officials booted the lawyer and novelist for a “romantic friendship” with a fellow student.

…He had conceived a romantic infatuation for Quentin Edwards, a fresh-faced, handsome sixth-former, who had visited Oxford from his public school in the balmy spring of 1941.

[Mortimer] had written him letters in the style of Wilde to Bosie, addressed to “My dear Boy”. Unfortunately, this bundle of letters had been found at the boy’s school by his housemaster. The headmaster summoned his pupil during the summer holidays and told him not to return to the school… John too was advised not to return for his third year

Both men testify they never fooled around, but their intimacy proved too radical for the distinguished university. Though married now, Mortimer does admit to having some “pleasant” gay experiences.

The scandal ended Edwards and Mortimer’s friendship. The men would reunite in court, however, when they battled each other as lawyers. Mortimer won.