This is a piece I wrote about his last wedding at Castle Leslie, to Heather Mills. I was not actually invited to the wedding, but I got to stay in the village and afterwards when they were giving away the flowers I got enough lilies to fill my car. Recently, I had the pleasure of actually meeting Sir Paul at Kate Moss’s wedding and he was extremely charming and also a very energetic dancer, far more energetic than me. His new fiancee seems quite lovely too.
copyright Victoria Mary Clarke, 2002
There is a double rainbow in the sky over Castle Leslie, the magnificent mock-gothic mansion in Monaghan where ex-Beatle Sir Paul Mc Cartney, the world’s richest rock star, will marry Heather Mills. A banner has been erected to welcome the happy couple. Three hundred guests are expected to arrive and three enormous marquees have been erected on the thousand acre estate, in which to lavishly entertain them. At the gates of the castle, two hundred and fifty reporters are competing to document the great event and a huge crowd of fans yell and cheer as coaches roll in and out of the driveway. Cries of ‘Celebrities arriving! Mick Jagger coming!”fill the sleepy village street. The members of the Press snap to attention every single time, craning to see who’s coming and going. Rain lashes mercilessly on a glamorous blonde television presenter, as she tries to say her piece to the camera and interested locals take pictures of her and wave. One man has just cycled all the way from Monaghan town, six miles away, to be here for the action. No-one has yet seen Bill Clinton or Bono, who are reportedly on their way, but Cliff Richard and Elton John were spotted asking for directions, earlier today.
Behind the gates, and beyond the hundred uniformed security guards, -who also handled Madonna’s wedding, -staff have been instructed not to talk to the press, ‘On pain of death.’ But last week Sir John Leslie, the eighty five year old American born cousin of Winston Churchill and owner of the castle confided happily in the journalists, whilst taking his regular stroll in the village, confirming that the wedding will take place tomorrow and adding innocently that he has been told to keep it a secret. This afternoon, Paul and Heather appeared at the gate, her in a sweater and jeans, him in a grey cashmere pullover. They looked relaxed and in love, holding hands and smiling. A waiting fan handed Paul a copy of the McCartney family crest, confirming his connection with this part of Ireland, and he lifted a fist in salute. “As Uncle Jack has told you, the wedding will take place tomorrow, ”he told the crowd. “But it’s a secret,” Heather added, laughing. Paul explained that the wedding will be a family affair, “Just a bit of fun.” The couple have announced that this will be their only media appearance .
But the excitement is unstoppable in this tiny place. Rumours of the opulence of the preparations for the feast are flying around the village. It is now generally accepted that the guests will eat off solid gold plates and sit on white linen chairs, decorated with gold bows. The plates and chairs have been flown in from England, as have the marquees, the flowers and the cakes. One Irish Sunday newspaper attacked Mc Cartney for coming back to his roots and leaving his money in England. But the Indian vegetarian buffet will be prepared by the castle’s own prize winning chef, Noel Mc Meel, who has cooked in the White House. And as one local woman said, Glaslough has never been a tourist attraction and the Mc Cartney wedding will surely put it on the map.
Tonight, Paul and Heather will sleep in separate rooms. The castle has fourteen fabulously eccentric bedrooms, each with it’s own theme, the grandest and most feminine being the Mauve Room, which was the bedroom of the original owner, Lady Constance Leslie. Mick Jagger has slept in the Mauve room and Heather is expected to occupy it tonight. Paul will most likely sleep in the Red Room, which is equally grand, if a little more masculine. The haunted bedroom is Papa Jack’s room, it is not known who will sleep there. None of the bedrooms have televisions or telephones and all have unusual antique toilets. Most of the guests will have to be accommodated in the village, in the Pillar House hotel, where the landlady is remaining firmly tight-lipped about who is expected, but whoever does arrive tonight will definitely not get past the waiting crowd without being spotted and photographed.