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Rowling ties the knot

Ms. J. K. Rowling, and Mr. Neil Murray arrive for the London premiere of ``Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'' in this November 4, 2001, file photograph. - Reuters

Ms. J. K. Rowling, and Mr. Neil Murray arrive for the London premiere of ``Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'' in this November 4, 2001, file photograph. - Reuters  

LONDON, DEC. 30. Ms J. K. Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, has married her partner, Dr. Neil Murray, whom she met at a mutual friend's home last year. Dr Murray, who is six years younger than her, separated from his wife, Dr Fiona Duncan, sometime before he met Ms Rowling whose first marriage to a Portuguese journalist, Mr Jorge Arantes, had been a disaster.

The marriage, which she went to extraordinary lengths to keep a secret, was held appropriately in a spooky 135-year-old Scottish mansion which she bought for � 500,000 only recently and which, according to those who have seen it, has the same ``feel'' as the Hogwarts School to which Harry Potter went to become a wizard. It was such a hush-hush affair that it took the media three days to find out.

The event, which had been anticipated ever since they appeared together at the world premiere of the film version of ``Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'' here last month, took place on the Boxing Day amid unprecedented secrecy with only close family and friends among the guests. Caterers for the party were brought in from 50 miles outside the town to make sure that the ``locals'' didn't get a whiff of it; or else they would talk.

The word got out on Saturday when Ms Rowling's publicist in a statement said: ``J. K. Rowling and Neil Murray were married privately on Dec. 26 in their house in Perthshire (Scotland). Their immediate families attended the wedding''.

Dr. Murray, an anaesthetist at Edinburgh Hospital, is studying to be a doctor but there was some speculation whether being married to one of the country's wealthiest women might prove ``problematic'', as one report delicately put it. He has been described as ``reserved and studious'', in sharp contrast to Ms Rowling's first husband who, she has alleged, was often ``violent''. Their marriage collapsed when after a row, he dragged her out of the house and dumped her on the pavement.

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