IAIN Banks returned to what he once described as his favourite place in the world to marry the woman who is set to be his widow.
The bestselling author of The Crow Road and The Wasp Factory, who last week announced that he is dying of cancer, travelled to Inverlochy Castle Hotel in the Highlands to marry his partner, Adele Hartley over the Easter weekend.
The couple’s wedding certificate shows that Banks, 59, of North Queensferry, married 42-year-old Miss Hartley at the five-star hotel in a short humanist ceremony on Good Friday.
It was witnessed by the author’s childhood friend, Les MacFarlane and his wife, Aileen, who live in nearby Glenfinnan.
Last week, Banks released a statement revealing that he had cancer of the gall bladder, liver and lymph nodes, and that, having almost completed his new novel, he planned to spend his remaining time visiting places that have meant a lot to him.
In his characteristic black humour, he said that he had asked Ms Hartley if she would “do me the honour of becoming my widow”.
Yesterday, Mrs Banks left a statement on the author’s website thanking the thousands of fans who have written to the author and left messages of support, which she signed “chief widow-in-waiting”. Both she and her husband are honeymooning in Italy, the first time the author has flown abroad in seven years.
In the statement, she said he had also been putting the finishing touches to what will be his last novel, The Quarry, which will now be published in June.
She wrote: “I wanted to say a huge thank you to every single person who has taken the time to write something on these pages… Iain is reading every single comment, although with something like 105 pages to get through this might take a little while!… He has roared with laughter and been deeply moved by the love, kindness and wit in your messages… Iain’s adding the finishing touches to the new book at the moment but he’ll post his own update soon. Until then thank you for showing my gorgeous, wonderful husband how much he is loved and appreciated beyond his own front door!”
Since the announcement on his website last Wednesday, tributes have poured in from around the world from friends, fans and fellow novelists.
Val McDermid, the crime writer who also comes from Fife, wrote: “When Iain leaves the stage, the lights will be dimmer, the possibilities less and the prospects more dreary.”
The couple chose the Inverlochy Castle Hotel as it is one of the author’s favourite parts of the world. In an interview in 2010 when asked about his favourite places, he said: “The Highlands, where we have some very good friends with a place looking out on to Loch Shiel and the Highlander monument at the head of the loch, with the famous viaduct just a little further up the glen. The midges can be horrific and I understand it has felt the odd drop of rain, but its still wonderful.”
Yesterday, a source was quoted as saying: “Iain and Adele were very keen to keep the wedding a secret and didn’t want any fuss. He has been a regular visitor to the hotel over the years, he loves the area and couldn’t think of a better place to get married. It was a simple but beautiful ceremony.”