LONDON -- A hint of autumnal Beatlemania was in the air yesterday as Paul McCartney, for the second time in his improbable life, climbed the steps of venerable Old Marylebone Town Hall to take himself a bride.

True, thousands of heartbroken female fans crowded the columned building in 1969 when he married Linda Eastman, and only a few hundred showed up yesterday as he wed another American, Nancy Shevell, at the same registry office.

But the feeling this time was not regret at the loss of a bachelor heartthrob. Instead there was joy that McCartney, regarded as a national treasure and revered the world over, seemed happy again.

The 69-year-old former Beatle appeared proud, content and eager to share his joy with the crowd, raising his bride's hand in triumph as he walked down the steps after they became man and wife in a simple civil ceremony attended by close family and friends, including drummer Ringo Starr and Barbara Walters, a second cousin of the bride.

"I feel absolutely wonderful," McCartney told fans as he arrived at his home after the ceremony. He was expected to sing a new song he had composed for his bride at the reception.

Shevell, 51, appeared radiant and composed in an elegant, ivory gown cut just above the knee. She wore a white flower in her long dark hair, and only light makeup and lipstick. Divorced after a 23-year marriage to attorney and former Nassau County Legislature Majority Leader Bruce Blakeman, she maintains an apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side and a home in East Hampton.

The dress was designed by McCartney's daughter, Stella, a star in the fashion world who also helped concoct the three-course vegetarian feast at the reception at McCartney's home in St. John's Wood.

McCartney, who has long admitted to tinting his hair to keep out the gray, looked youthful in a well-cut blue suit and pale blue, skinny tie.

The couple married on what would have been John Lennon's 71st birthday.

The wedding party included Beatrice, McCartney's young daughter with Heather Mills, his second wife.

McCartney and Shevell met four years ago in the Hamptons. Some reports say that Walters played matchmaker, inviting McCartney to a dinner she knew Shevell would attend.

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