JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, HELEN Mirren seemed delighted that she and her beau of 13 years, director Taylor Hackford (Devil’s Advocate), had never married. “Nothing really holds us together except our desire to be with each other,” the actress, 52, known for PBS’s Prime Suspect, told PEOPLE.
When the couple turned up in the tiny Scottish fishing village of Ardersier on New Year’s Eve, it was clear Mirren had had a change of heart. In a ceremony at the local Presbyterian church, tradition was broken only by a chorus of “Happy Birthday” for Hackford (who turned 53) and by the newly-weds’ decision to seal the deal with not one kiss but two. Her nephew Simon Mirren gave her away; Hackford’s older son Rio, 27, from the first of his two previous marriages, was best man. The never-before-wed Mirren, who invited villagers to join the 18 or so official guests, “looked radiant and happy,” says florist Mary Douglas. The pair seemed “only a wee bit nervous,” says Rev. Alex Whiteford, who officiated.
Any jitters were gone when the party adjourned to the nearly 400-year-old Castle Stuart, now an inn, for dancing and a spread of haddock mousse, venison, salmon and haggis, the famed Scottish dish of organ meats. (Hackford, who wore a kilt, traces his roots to Scotland.) Revelers then greeted the New Year Scottish-style: “We banged pots and pans and screamed as loud as we could to ward off the evil spirits,” says castle owner Caroline Stuart.
Hackford, an L.A. resident, and Mirren, a part-time Londoner, plan to set up a new home base in Manhattan. Yet their wedding won’t soon be forgotten in Ardersier. Says Martin Docherty, an oil rigger who gave Mirren “a proper kiss from her No. 1 fan” outside the church: “You don’t see things like that in a Highlands village very often.”