Paul McCartney marries Linda Eastman

Wednesday, March 12, 1969

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On this day, Paul McCartney & Linda Eastman were married in a small civil ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall, London. From TheGuardian, March 13, 1969:

Beatle Mr John Paul McCartney, 26, and a millionaire, finally waved a wintry farewell to his bachelor freedom yesterday. He married Miss Linda Eastman, 27 […] Anyway it rained, and this was appropriate: the pavements outside Marylebone register office would have been wet in any case with the tears of fans thrown by the sudden reality of having failed to become Mrs McCartney.

What a sad day for these poor fans it was, not to mention the hundred or so reporters and photographers who stood outside Marylebone town hall for four hours in the rain. It began to get sad at seven in the morning. No announcement was ever made of the time or date of the wedding.

By the magic hour of ten, a sort of guard of honour had formed up on the steps of the town hall, consisting of rain-soaked journalists, old ladies trying to wield umbrellas and cameras at the same time, younger fans moaning and weeping and hanging on to each other’s arms and making catty comments about the bride, and a middle-aged man who kept shouting, “The Beatles are rubbish,” and then dodging hastily.

Paul, of course, wasn’t there to hear it. He had gone in by a back door, wearing a dark suit, a yellow kipper tie, and a floral shirt. Miss Eastman went in with him, wearing a yellow coat over a fawn dress. So did Heather – Miss Eastman’s daughter by a previous marriage, holding a posey of freesias.

This was at 9 50. An hour later the couple came to the window of a front room in the town hall to smile into camera lenses, but the most intense of the fans weren’t smiling. They had jammed themselves against the side of the big black Daimler in which the couple were to depart, and were rebelliously singing as many Beatle songs as they could remember, which mercifully wasn’t many. They also improvised one of their own, beginning, “Oh, Paul, we love you, yes, we do.” The police tried to move them on.

The atmosphere now had something of the air of a Grosvenor Square thump-up, the faintest trace of a prayer meeting, and a tangible suggestion of a communal suicide pact. Down the town hall steps came the happy couple, throwing the freesias to the crowd as police wrenched open the door of their car. […]

As a hint to the press, he told us not to arrive at Cavendish Avenue before 9am. But, at 7am, the first reporter and photographer had arrived. Mr McCartney and Miss Eastman, with Heather, aged six, arrived at Marylebone’s register office shortly before 10am and entered the office, in the town hall, by a side door, to foil the press and enthusiasts. About 300 of them, nearly half of them from newspapers and television, waited for hours in the cold, driving rain. While the wedding party was inside the building, the teenagers made their presence felt. A group of girls, who had pledged their lives to Paul, and were feeling a sense of betrayal, ran through The Beatles’ repertoire more than once. They wistfully sang, ‘How I long for yesterday’, and frequently sang their own words, ‘Oh, Paul, we love you’, to a Beatles tune.

Reporter – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

The 9:45 am service was held up by the non-appearance of Paul’s brother. The previous night, Mike McCartney was in Birmingham for a cabaret concert with his group, The Scaffold.

The wedding was arranged for 9.45am, and my train was due in at Euston at 9.05, except, of course, that it broke down and British Railways had to put on a new engine. So, by the time I had arrived at Euston, about 10.30am, I had given up on the train and I knew that I couldn’t possibly make it. I thought that there would be no point even bothering to go to the registry office as I knew he had somebody else there who could stand in for me as one of his two witnesses.

Mike McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

But Paul entertained the attendance waiting for his brother. When the service was over, the freshly married couple had to go through the crowd.

A dozen policemen tried to fend off teenagers, outstretched hands and microphones, as the couple made their way to the car. A rubbish bin went flying, feet were trampled, the teenagers screamed shrilly and poor Heather, looking bewildered, was carried in the arms of a policeman. For two girls, it was no less than the end of the world, as they broke down and screamed hysterically, inconsolable. He received the press treatment befitting his status, and was speeded on his way by the teams of young supporters who loved him to the last. Linda was wearing a daffodil-yellow coat over a fawn dress, and looked very pretty. Paul was wearing a dark-grey suit with a white shirt and a yellow tie.

Reporter – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Back at Paul’s home in Cavendish Avenue, they faced the press.

Reporter: What does it feel like to be married at last?

Paul: It feels fine, thank you.

Reporter: Linda, are you related to the Eastman–Kodak photographic firm?

Linda: I have no connection.

Paul: I’ve been done! Where’s the money?

From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

A luncheon was held at the Ritz Hotel afterwards. Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon were there, as well as George and Patti Harrison.

From Mike McCartney on Twitter: “THAT’S were I’ve seen my shiny, orange/brown patent leather look jacket before! https://t.co/XeEwt2De8K” / Twitter
From Bribes.com

The three other Beatles didn’t participate in the celebration. Here are different explanations Paul has given over the years.

I really don’t remember whether or not I invited any of the band to the wedding. Why not? I’m a total bastard, I suppose – I don’t know, really. Maybe it was because the group was breaking up. We were all pissed off with each other. We certainly weren’t a gang any more. That was the thing. Once a group’s broken up like that, that’s it.

Paul McCartney, in Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, by Barry Miles, 1998

John, George and Ringo weren’t at the wedding, which might have been because of the tensions of the time, or because we decided to do it quickly. It seems like an important point now but it wasn’t at the time – it was just the two of us wanting to get married quietly. My dad wasn’t there either – I’m not sure he was pleased with me about that, but my best excuse was that it was the spirit of the times. We didn’t want a big fuss.

Paul McCartney, Wingspan, 2002

As Paul also remembered, the wedding was nearly called off, the day before:

We were crazy. We had a big argument the night before we got married and it was nearly called off. We were very up and down, quite funky compared to the eventual image of ’25 years of married bliss! Aren’t they lucky for people in showbiz?’ But we are. You get this picture of us swanning along in a little rowboat managing to avoid the white water, but we were right in the middle of that white water, man, so it’s even more miraculous that we made it. But we did.

Paul McCartney, in Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, by Barry Miles, 1998

Paul and Linda McCartney were married for almost 30 years until Linda’s death in 1998.


We all knew it was going to happen. We even knew Linda was pregnant. We’d seen the prescription that Rosie, the housekeeper, collected for her. But we kept hoping Paul would get out of it somehow. He was upset because we were taking it so badly. He’d come out to the gates to talk to us earlier in the day. “Look, girls,” he said, “be fair. I had to get married some time.”

Margo Stevens, an Apple Scruff – From “Shout!: The True Story of the Beatles” by Philip Norman

When Paul drove back with Linda after the ceremony, grief began to turn to violence. The security gates were forced apart; the front door was kicked and wads of burning newspaper were pushed through the letterbox. After that, the police appeared and told everyone to disperse.

Margo, Jill and the other regulars, drained of all emotion, adjourned to the nearest pub. ‘We heard later from Paul’s housekeeper Rosie that he was really upset about us,’ Margo says. ‘He was standing just inside the front door, saying, “I must go out and talk to them again.” But when he did come out, none of us was there any more. He couldn’t believe we’d all gone away, so Rosie said. When he came back into the house, he was almost in tears.

From “Shout!: The True Story of the Beatles” by Philip Norman

From Twitter
From Twitter

FIRST MAN TO KNOW

First person to learn about Paul’s wedding was journalist Ray Connolly, who called at the Apple headquarters on 11th March. While he was there, he saw Paul who casually remarked: “Hello, Ray, do you know I’m getting married tomorrow morning!” And that, as far as we know, is how the Press got on to the biggest Show Biz wedding of 1969. When Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman at the Marylebone Registry Office on the morning of 12th March.

Although many of the Apple executives were surprised by the news, they all turned out in force for the wedding. Mal Evans and Peter Brown were very much to the fore in protecting Linda from the hectic crush outside the Registry Office.

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°69, April 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°69, April 1969

Paul McCartney – the last of the bachelor Beatles – finally put an end to weeks of speculation when married 27-year old American photographer Linda Eastman at Marylebone register office on Wednesday morning.

The streamlined wedding – no guests, no reception and no honeymoon – caused hundreds of teenage fans to picket Paul’s St John’s Wood home in a last minute effort to persuade him to change his mind.

A large crowd also waited at the Register Office – among them many tearful fans.

The couple met in New York when Linda photographed the group for a teenage magazine. They have been going out regularly since Paul’s engagement to Jane Asher was broken last summer.

To avoid even larger crowds attending Wednesday’s ceremony the other Beatles were asked not to attend.

Linda has a six-year-old daughter by a previous marriage.

From New Musical Express, March 15, 1969
From New Musical Express, March 15, 1969

From Record Mirror, March 22, 1969
From Jesse Tedesci sur Twitter : “#OTD in 1969 Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman got married. Ten days later a nice article on the bride appeard in the Disc And Music Echo, from someone who actually knew and ‘got’ her. https://t.co/FF0aG7dD0C” / Twitter

Last updated on March 23, 2022

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