Fleet Street preoccupation to the contrary, the Most Elusive Bachelor in the United Kingdom has not been Prince Charles but David Frost. The driven, baggy-eyed, Concorde-set TV totem has always successfully outrun the rumors about him and Diahann Carroll, Carol Lynley, Texas model Karen Graham (actually, she ditched him at the altar), socialite Caroline Cushing, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Bibbi Andersson, Liv Ullmann...

But late last month Frost unexpectedly abdicated bachelorhood at 41, secretly marrying actress Lynne Frederick, 26, the widow of his late friend Peter Sellers. The ceremony, at St. Peter's Church in the Suffolk village of Theberton, where Frost lives, stunned even intimates. "It must be true love," gushed one. "I never expected him to do it."

Indeed, relatives of the bride hardly expected her to do it either—yet. Sarah Sellers, 23, and her brother, Michael, 26, from the late actor's first marriage (to actress Anne Hayes), were appalled at their stepmother's seeming haste. "Dad died [at 54, of a heart attack] only six months ago. We are still in mourning," complained Sarah. "This only proves," Michael sneered, "that her love for Dad was paper-thin."

He isn't just mincing metaphors: Michael, Sarah and Victoria, 16 (whose mother is Britt Ekland), plan to contest their father's will in court: He left them each $1,800, plus trust funds of $48,000 apiece, with the remaining $9.6 million going to Frederick. This Christmas, amid her grief and the kids' complaints, Lynne sought comfort and counsel from the man pals call "Frostie." And David and Lynne—who had been an old flame before she became the fourth Mrs. Sellers in 1977—were inseparable after a holiday in Gstaad.

They took the plunge surreptitiously, duping 24 guests into thinking they were arriving for his mother Mona's 78th birthday. "We had to use a bit of subterfuge," said Frost, the son of a Methodist vicar. Lynne also had to dodge the press and rumors of pregnancy, saying, "I can count as well as anybody. In eight and a half months, there won't be an unexpected arrival."

Will there be anything unexpected from David? "Being married," he raves, "is terrific." But nevertheless, old Frostie forsook a honeymoon to begin pre-production on his next TV series.