‘The bedrock of my life’ – Sir Michael Palin announces death of wife of 57 years

Monty Python star Sir Michael Palin has announced the death of his wife of 57 years.

The actor and TV veteran, 79, wrote on his website that Helen, whom he met while still a teenager, had been suffering from chronic pain and kidney failure.

He described her as “the bedrock of my life” and asked for privacy while their family grieves.

Sir Michael met his future wife while holidaying in the seaside town of Southwold, Suffolk, and later fictionalised the encounter in a 1987 TV drama for the BBC titled East Of Ipswich.

The couple share three children and four grandchildren.

“My dearest wife Helen died peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday morning,” Sir Michael wrote in a post on Tuesday.

“She had been suffering with chronic pain for several years, which was compounded a few years ago by a diagnosis of kidney failure.

“We first met on a summer holiday on the Suffolk coast when we were both 16 and we married in our early 20s.”

Noting the pair celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary two and a half weeks ago, Sir Michael added: “Her death is an indescribable loss for myself, our three children and four grandchildren.

“Helen was the bedrock of my life. Her quietly wise judgement informed all my decisions and her humour and practical good sense was at the heart of our life together.”

Sir Michael has become known for his globetrotting BBC travel programmes, which have seen him visit locations including North Korea and the Himalayas.

He underwent surgery in September 2019 to fix a “leaky” heart valve, cancelling a UK-wide book tour to allow for three months of recovery.

He was knighted in 2019 for services to travel, culture and geography, marking his post-Python career in TV and writing.