"What I wish to ask you is if you still love your husband, or if you have another lover?" Eric Clapton's love letter to seduce Pattie Boyd when she was married to his friend George Harrison is quite something

Patti Boyd, George Harrison and Eric Clapton
(Image credit: Manchester Daily Express/SSPL/Getty Images |Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Love letters revealing the beginnings of what the BBC calls "the notorious love triangle" between The Beatles guitarist George Harrison, his model-turned-photographer wife Pattie Boyd, and the couple's close friend Eric Clapton are to be auctioned in London next month. 

Boyd, who inspired Harrison to write the tender Beatles ballad Something, and inspired Clapton, who she married after her divorce from the Beatle, to write Layla and Wonderful Tonight, is selling off a selection of her personal effects, including letters, photos, jewellery and paintings, at Christies, as The Pattie Boyd Collection

One lot, described as a "significant handwritten letter from Eric Clapton to Pattie Boyd", written in October 1970, and sent "express" and "urgent" to Boyd at her marital home Friar Park, sees Clapton outlining his feelings for his friend's wife in black and white, in what is impressively neat handwriting. 

"Dearest L.......," it begins, Clapton's nickname for Boyd being 'Layla',  "I am writing this note to you, with the main purpose of ascertaining  your feelings towards a a subject well known to both of us... as you have probably gathered, my own home affairs are a galloping farce, which is rapidly degenerating day by intolerable day..."

"What I whish [sic] to ask you, is if you still love your husband, or if you have another lover?" the letter continues. "All these questions are very impertinent, I know, but if there is still a feeling in your heart for me… you must let me know! in fact, you must let me know whatever your feelings are..."

Obviously aware of the fact that attempting to seduce a friend's wife is generally considered bad etiquette, Clapton advises that Boyd should reply to him by letter, urging "Don't telephone!"

"Please do this," he writes, "whatever it may say, my mind will be at rest."

The letter is signed, "All my love, E".

Apparently, Boyd initially believed that the letter was written by a besotted fan.

"I had no idea it was from Eric," she tells the Christie's website. "I thought it was a letter from a weird fan. I even showed it to George!"

Boyd became aware of the letter writer's true identity the same evening, when Clapton phoned to ask if she had received any mail from him.

"I said, Oh my god, I didn’t realise it was from you!" she recalls.

The letter is estimated to fetch £10,000-15,000 at the auction.

Eric Clapton's love letter to Pattie Boyd

(Image credit: christies.com)

Harrison and Boyd were married on January 21, 1966, and divorced in 1977. Two years later, Boyd married Clapton. The trio remained close friends, with Harrison referring to Clapton as his "husband-in-law".

The Pattie Boyd Collection will be offered by Christie’s online from March 8- 21. The full sale will be on public view at Christie’s in London from March 15 - 22.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.