Maybe he's amazed: McCartney, 60, to become a father again

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The Independent Online

He is not, of course, officially too old for this sort of thing - not in his terms, at any rate. Paul McCartney still has four years to wait to find out whether his lover will still be sending him a Valentine, birthday greeting or a bottle of wine.

But, at the age of 60, the former Beatle has just discovered that the lover in question - Heather Mills, 34, who married him last year - will be delivering a rather more startling gift later this year: his fourth child.

Yesterday, the couple issued the briefest of statements to confirm the fact that she is pregnant with their first baby. "We are delighted with this happy news," they said, refusing to give any further details.

But Sir Paul will have to keep procreating a little longer if he is really to impress. Rupert Murdoch will be 72 when his wife, Wendi Deng, now pregnant with his sixth child, gives birth later this year. Charlie Chaplin, Anthony Quinn and Saul Bellow all achieved fatherhood in their eighties.

For once, politicians are setting an example. The Prime Minister chose to bring out the labour vote at 46; the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, waited until he was 57.

Yesterday, colleagues and friends of Sir Paul and his wife rushed to tell of their joy. The couple are said to have been trying for a baby since they married in Ireland last June.

Rumours of a pregnancy began circulating in March when Heather Mills McCartney was reportedly spotted outside a childbirth clinic near the couple's north London home.

Three months ago the anti-landmines campaigner appeared on a television chat show to explain how distressing she found such gossip.

The baby will be a first child for Heather Mills McCartney. Sir Paul is father to Mary, 33, Stella, 31, and James, 25. He also has a stepdaughter, Heather, 39.

Paul McCartney will be 64 on 18 June 2006.