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Sir Paul McCartney moves fans with very rare family photo

The 79-year-old Beatles star took to Instagram

Sir Paul McCartney marked a poignant family milestone this week and chose to share a rare photo from his childhood with fans in honour of the occasion.

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The Beatles icon, 79, posted a black-and-white snapshot showing him as a little boy on the beach with his mother.

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Little Paul can be seen sat on a blanket by his mum's feet wearing his swimming shorts while Mary is on a deckchair dressed in a skirt and blouse and looking directly at the camera. "Today is the anniversary of my lovely mum's birth. Let's celebrate together - Paul," the musician captioned his post.

READ: Paul McCartney remembers late wife Linda on special day

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Paul's time with his mother was brief. She tragically passed away at the age of 47 when he was just 14. He previously said of her death: "Both my mum and [first wife] Linda [McCartney] died of breast cancer.

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Sir Paul shared a sweet snapshot showing him with his mother

"We had no idea what my mum had died of because no-one talked about it. She just died. The worst thing about it was everyone was just very stoic. Everyone kept a stiff upper lip and then one evening you'd hear my dad crying in the next room.

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"It was tragic because we'd never heard him cry," he concluded. "It was a quiet private grief."

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The musician and his daughter, Mary

In a touching nod to his late mother, Paul and his wife Linda chose to name their first child together Mary, now an acclaimed photographer just like her own mum.

Linda and Paul were married for 29 years before her death in April 1998 and were proud parents to four children in total - Mary, Stella, James, and Heather - Linda's daughter from her first marriage.

Speaking about his reaction to Linda's death, Paul confessed: "I think I cried for about a year on and off.

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Paul and Linda were married for 29 years

"You expect to see them walk in, this person you love because you are so used to them. I cried a lot. It was almost embarrassing except it seemed the only thing to do."

Paul is now happily married to Nancy Shevell; the couple married in a civil ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall in London in October 2011 in a modest wedding attended by around 30 people.

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