McCartney wedding kept under wraps

— Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were married Tuesday in a remote Irish castle, while fans and journalists thronged the gates for a glimpse of the ex-Beatle and his bride.

The couple were determined to have a private wedding despite the growing crowd outside and the noisy helicopters hovering overhead.


AP File Photo

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills married Tuesday at Castle Leslie in the small town of Glaslough, Ireland. The castle is shown during preparation for a reception on Thursday; McCartney would not grant rights to wedding photos to any U.S. press services.

More than 2 1/2 hours after the ceremony, as the newlyweds and their guests feasted on Indian food in large tents on the Castle Leslie estate, McCartney's spokesman, Geoff Baker, emerged to reveal some details.

The bride, wearing a fitted ecru lace dress she designed herself, carried a bouquet of 11 pink McCartney roses � named for her new husband � and two peonies, Baker said.

She was slightly late for the ceremony and was overcome by emotion, faltering slightly as she spoke before family and friends, he said.

Mills entered the 17th century church to the strains of "Heather," a song McCartney wrote for his recent album. As the beaming pair walked back down the aisle, a wedding march McCartney wrote for the 1966 movie "The Family Way" was played on the organ, Baker said.

The guest list of 300 was kept pretty well under wraps.

Ringo Starr, the only other surviving Beatle, was seen being whisked through the gates to attend the ceremony at St. Salvator's chapel within the walls of the well-guarded estate.

Baker had confirmed earlier that Beatles producer George Martin and Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour also would be there.

The large crowd outside could only guess when the ceremony � scheduled for 4 p.m. (10 a.m. CDT) � began. The ringing of church bells more than an hour later indicated that McCartney and Mills had indeed tied the knot in the Protestant Church of Ireland service.

Media interest had reached fever pitch as newspapers speculated about every detail, including a guest list that some said included rock veterans Elton John and Eric Clapton.

McCartney, 59, and Mills, 34, had tried to keep the location of their wedding a secret.

But when word slipped out, they good-naturedly appeared outside the castle walls on Monday, speaking briefly to the crowd that had gathered but giving few details of the nuptials.

About 90 relatives and friends of McCartney arrived at Belfast International Airport on a chartered flight from Liverpool and were met by a fleet of buses and limousines to carry them to the castle.

Musicians Chrissie Hynde and Jules Holland and former model Twiggy arrived later on a chartered flight from London's Heathrow airport. Starr flew to Belfast on his private jet, airport authorities said.

Cars passing through the gates Tuesday ran a gauntlet of cameramen, and a group of bewildered caterers was mobbed by reporters.

Television news showed aerial footage of a flower-decked yacht moored to a specially built pier beside the estate's lake, from which the newlyweds are expected to watch an extravagant fireworks display.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported the couple would spend Tuesday night in the castle's Red Room, said to be haunted by former owner Sir Normal Leslie, who was killed on the battlefields of France in 1914.

McCartney and Mills met in 1999 at a charity function where she was raising money to oppose the use of land mines.

Mills, a model who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident and raises money for children disabled in war, was married briefly in 1989.

McCartney and his first wife, Linda, were married for nearly 30 years before she died of breast cancer in 1998. They had three children of their own, and Linda had a daughter from an earlier marriage.


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