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The BBC's Robert Hall
"No trace of nerves second time round"
 real 56k

The BBC's Max Flint
"Sir John always wanted to marry Mary in a church"
 real 56k

Sir John Mills
"I hope she is still waiting in the wings"
 real 56k

Reverend Adrian Hirst
"They have shown a real devotion - one for the other"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 18:23 GMT
Sir John Mills renews wedding vows
Sir John and Lady Mary Mills
Sir John and Lady Mary walk the aisle at last
Actor Sir John Mills and his wife Mary have renewed their wedding vows at their local church, 60 years after they first wed.

The 92-year old British film veteran, who won an Oscar for Ryan's Daughter, and 89-year-old Mary wanted to have a church service as they missed out on the full ceremony in 1940.

The first 60 years are the worst, so we're hoping to push on from here

Sir John Mills

The couple were married at a Marylebone register office rather than in a church when the actor was on leave from the army during the war.

On Tuesday more than 100 friends, family and well-wishers attended the ceremony at St Mary's Church, in Denham, Buckinghamshire.

Sir John, who is partially blind, and his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's, were driven 30 yards from their home to the church gates in a Rolls-Royce.

In the service, the Reverend Adrian Hirst compared their marriage to a shining "diamond" and said Mary had been the "linchpin" in her husband's life.

He added: "The marriage of Mary and John has indeed been shining for 60 years and we come and give our thanks today."

The couple's daughter actress Hayley Mills was at the ceremony, but her sister and brother and the Mills' grandchildren could not come due to work commitments.

The Queen Mother sent a message to the pair.

Sir John told the BBC that this telegram was "very, very important and from the most wonderful lady".

He added: "I feel quite honoured and flattered."

'Warmest congratulations'

The Queen Mother wrote: "I offer you my warmest congratulations on your diamond wedding anniversary and I send you both my best wishes."

Sir John was an unknown young actor when he met his bride-to-be, a colonel's daughter.

They went on to become one of the British film industry's greatest celebrities and are one of the industry's closest marriages.

Sir John's manager John Novelli said: "I don't know a couple who are so devoted to each other. They are inseparable.

John Mills and his wife
John Mills married Mary during wartime
"A few months ago Sir John said to me that one of his regrets was that he'd never been married in a church. It will now become a reality."

Sir John told the BBC that he made his second proposal to Lady Mary at their home and the couple then exchanged rings.

The service was followed by a reception at the family home, and a honeymoon is planned for April in Gibraltar.

Comedian Jim Davidson sent a congratulatory message to the actor.

He asked jokingly: "Do you think it will last?"

Sir John told the BBC, with a broad smile: "The first 60 years are the worst, so we're hoping to push on from here."

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See also:

16 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Sir John Mills' thriving career
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Sir John launches documentary
01 Jun 00 | UK
Final farewell to Gielgud
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