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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Sir Paul: How I proposed
Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
McCartney said they were "very happy"
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has said he was "a bit nervous" about proposing to Heather Mills, as the couple showed off her engagement ring.

The pair became engaged during a short break in the Lake District on Monday, when the millionaire rock star popped the big question.

"When I proposed I was a bit nervous but I managed. We've had a good reception from relatives and friends and from the media," said Sir Paul, 59.

The couple, who broke the news to the press on Thursday evening, were surrounded by a scrum of reporters and photographers outside Sir Paul's London home in St John's Wood.

engagement ring
The sapphire and diamond ring was bought on a trip to India
Mills, a model and landmine campaigner, said that although she was still "in shock", she was "over the moon".

But she was still able to stand firm against the photographers who asked the couple to kiss.

"We don't kiss on demand, it's spontaneous," she said.

And Sir Paul described details about the engagement as "very private stuff", revealing only that they would get married next year.

Mills, 33, added: "It just all happened all of a sudden. My brother and sister were very pleased."

When asked whether she would take his name she said: "I won't be using the title Lady, I'm not into all that pretence."

Linda McCartney
Sir Paul and Linda were married for 29 years
Sir Paul, who was married to Linda McCartney from 1969 until her death from cancer in 1998, said he had not yet thought about whether he would wear two wedding rings.

It is thought they may hold the wedding ceremony in Sussex before taking a honeymoon in Jamaica.

Sir Paul's spokesman said on Thursday the couple wanted to "thank their relatives and friends for all the great support they have shown them since they met two years ago".

The former Beatle first declared his love for Mills last year - but rumours of their romance had been circulating since 1999.

They became close after recording the single to raise money for people who had lost limbs in war zones.

Paul McCartney and Heather Mills
The couple have worked on landmine campaigns together
Mills' modelling career was cut short when she lost part of her left leg after being hit by a police motorbike in 1993.

When they first met, Sir Paul denied their relationship was anything more than professional.

But he later admitted he had been instantly smitten.

Sir Paul and Linda had three children - Mary, Stella and James, who is the youngest, born in 1978. They also brought up Heather, Linda's daughter from a her previous marriage.

Stella has gone on to have a highly successful high-profile career as a fashion designer.

She did a wonderful job with Paul and her family and I have got nothing but admiration for her

Heather Mills on Linda McCartney
Mills, who has devoted much of her time to helping others who had lost limbs, has also worked as a television presenter and appeared in a BBC detective drama, Streetlife.

She was previously married in 1989 - but that was short-lived.

In 1999, she had been due to marry documentary cameraman Chris Terrill, but two weeks before the date of the wedding the ceremony was called off.

Last year, she told reporters that she wished she had been able to meet Linda.

"To keep any marriage going for 30 years is a fantastic achievement, but to keep a rock and roll marriage going for that long is unbelievable," she said.

"She did a wonderful job with Paul and her family and I have got nothing but admiration for her."

The BBC's Rosie Millard
"Nothing is known about the happy couple's wedding plans"
Hunter Davies, official biographer of the Beatles
"He's not a person who's suited to being on his own"
Tony Barrow. Beatles' Press Officer, 1962-68
"I don't think this shows any lack of respect for Linda"
See also:

26 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Mills' triumph over tragedy
15 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Sir Paul's new love
21 Oct 00 | Entertainment
'I love her, yeah', says Sir Paul
20 Apr 01 | Showbiz
McCartney pushes for landmine ban
07 Nov 99 | Entertainment
McCartney denies love affair
27 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Sir Paul praises Linda's 'goodness'
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
McCartney bares soul in US film
20 Apr 01 | Showbiz
Sir Paul tops rich list
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