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McCartney and Fiancee to Tie the Knot Tuesday
By Paul McErlane
GLASLOUGH, Ireland (June 9) - Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and his fiancee Heather Mills have arrived at the 17th century Irish castle where they plan to marry on Tuesday, it was confirmed on Sunday.
The couple arrived by helicopter at Castle Leslie in the tiny village of Glaslough close to the Irish border with British-ruled Northern Ireland for one of the most glittering celebrity events of the year.
''They are at the castle. It is true they are going to get married there on Tuesday,'' McCartney's spokesman Geoff Baker said.
The 59-year-old rock legend will be married to former model Mills, 34, by a local priest in St. Salvator's church in the castle grounds before hosting a lavish lakeside reception for 300 guests on the 1,000-acre estate.
McCartney is also expected to talk to media and fans outside the castle gates on Monday ''to say thank you'' for their patience, the spokesman said.
Confirmation of McCartney's presence ends days of speculation and false leads for the hordes of reporters who descended on the village in County Monaghan earlier this week.
Britain's Sunday People tabloid newspaper published what it said was a copy of the wedding invitation instructing guests to assemble at London's Heathrow airport on Tuesday to be flown to an undisclosed destination.
Guests were asked not to bring cameras or mobile telephones. ''This will ensure the privacy of our occasion as well as making sure you switch off and have a good time,'' it read.
After speculation the wedding could be in Scotland or the United States, the hunt narrowed down last week when Sir John Leslie, an 84-year-old member of the family that has owned Castle Leslie for 300 years, met reporters on his way to post a letter in the village.
In a refreshing display of indiscretion, Leslie, a self-described eccentric sporting a peacock-feather beret, told the world the event was indeed happening on Tuesday, but it was all ''dead secret.''
Photographs taken by Reuters from a helicopter flying over the estate this weekend showed frenzied preparations nearing completion.
A covered walkway has been constructed between the 14-bedroom castle and the estate's stone church to shield guests from airborne media and, presumably, the Irish rain, and a huge marquee and wooden platform erected by the castle's lake.
Lighting and amplification equipment has been set up. A large lakeside outdoor stage could be for dancing or impromptu jamming sessions by musical guests. Vast amounts of flowers were being unloaded from large refrigerated container lorries.
McCartney appears to be taking no chances on the security front -- from the air, uniformed men with walkie-talkies were visible around the perimeter of the grounds.
It is the second time around for McCartney, who met Mills at a charity event and announced their engagement last July. His wife Linda died of breast cancer in 1998.
Mills' leg was amputated below the knee in 1993 after she was hit by a police motorcycle in central London. She went on to fundraise for amputees and land mine charities.
While many prominent members of Irish society are reportedly on the list of wedding guests, some of McCartney's distant Irish relatives are still awaiting their invitations, Irish Sunday newspapers reported.
Among those reported to have been invited are former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and legendary guitarist Eric Clapton.
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And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make . . .