Richard E Grant has revealed his wife of 35 anni, Joan Washington, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer eight months before her death.
The actor, 64, known for films including Withnail And I and Can You Ever Forgive Me?, announced Washington, a voice coach, died earlier this month, invecchiato 71, by sharing a video of the pair dancing together to Only You by the Platters on Twitter.
Writing in the Daily Mail, the Oscar nominee described the impact of losing his wife and their almost four decades together, which he called “the ride of my lifetime”.
The couple married in 1986 and share a daughter, Olivia, and a stepson, Tom, from Washington’s previous relationship.
“Since her stage four lung cancer diagnosis two days before Christmas, she was accepting, clear sighted, sanguine and totally without self pity,” Grant wrote.
“The oncology team at the Royal Marsden hospital, NHS nurses, Price’s Mill Surgery and Longfield palliative carers have been beyond exemplary.
“It’s been my privilege to be by your side, sharing our last eight months together, enabling us to say everything we possibly wanted and needed to, so that when you asked Olivia and me two weeks ago ‘to let me go’, we unequivocally said ‘yes’.
“Olivia and I are profoundly grateful for everything that you’ve gifted us with, and we’re relieved that you no longer have to struggle for breath.”
The love of his wife was “immeasurable”, her loss “incalculable”, Grant wrote.
“It’s an extraordinary phenomenon to be truly ‘seen’ and ‘known’ by another human, and in Joan, I found someone who innately did both.
“The depth of our grief is mirrored by the magnitude of our love.
Goodbye Monkee-mine. Do not forget us.”
Grant also revealed the Prince of Wales came to visit Washington, nicknamed “the Colonel”, shortly before she died.
“Prince Charles came to see ‘the Colonel’ last month, sat beside her, took her hand and said: ‘It’s been an absolute honour to have known you, Joan’ to which she instantly quipped: ‘I’m still here.’ Which broke the ice and made all three of us cackle," scrisse.
Washington, from Aberdeen, trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and began her career as a dialect coach on Barbra Streisand’s 1983 movie Yentl.
She subsequently worked as a voice and dialect coach in the film industry for nearly 40 anni, training stars including Anne Hathaway, Vanessa Redgrave and Emma Stone.