• Elton John weds partner of 21 years as stars look on

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    WINDSOR, United Kingdom: British pop legend Elton John married David Furnish on Sunday (Monday in Manila), exactly nine years since their civil partnership, with stars including David and Victoria Beckham and actor Hugh Grant attending the ceremony.

    The 67-year-old singer posted live updates of the event on photo-sharing website Instagram, including the suit-wearing couple holding hands in front of guests with the caption “The exchange of vows. #ShareTheLove”

    A fleet of luxury cars whisked the A-list guests through the gates of the couple’s estate in Windsor, west of London, close to the castle where Queen Elizabeth II spends much of her time.

    Former footballer Beckham arrived with his children and wife Victoria while comedian David Walliams was spotted with model wife Lara Stone.

    “Notting Hill” star Hugh Grant made an eye-catching entrance in a Ferrari, with all guests arriving between 12:00 and 1:00 pm local time (1200-1300 GMT).

    The “Rocket Man” musician had earlier posted a picture of an invitation on his Instagram page, with the words “Sir Elton John and David Furnish request the pleasure of your company to celebrate their wedding on Sunday the 21st December” written on a background of red roses.

    Other pictures showed a view of the couple’s estate under the words “Good morning! Nice day for a wedding”, and the couple’s three-year-old son Zachary holding a teddy bear while they exchanged vows.

    Both Zachary and the couple’s other son, Elijah, 23 months, were ring bearers.

    The photographs showed at least 50 guests — reported to include Ed Sheeran, Elizabeth Hurley and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne — sat in what appeared to be the estate’s gallery, in front of art works thought to be by Gilbert & George and Damien Hirst.

    Guest Brooklyn Beckham, eldest son of David and Victoria, later posted a photograph of the wedding lunch menu with the caption “Congratulations Uncle Elton and Uncle David”.

    The party dined on a wild mushroom soup and truffle cream starter, followed by beef short rib and caramelized onion pie with roasted potatoes and parsnips in horseradish butter.

    Dessert was warm chocolate pudding and vanilla ice cream with wedding cake to follow, with guests seated at round tables with white tablecloths and enormous bouquets of red roses.

    The singer voiced pride that England and Wales began allowing same-sex marriage in March. Scotland followed suit this week.

    John and Furnish — who divide their time between England, Beverly Hills, Atlanta, Venice and Nice in the south of France — entered a civil partnership soon after they came into force in Britain in 2005 and have now been together for 21 years.

    A British Canadian film-maker, Furnish met John at a dinner with a mutual friend in 1993.

    “I’m very proud of Britain and the laws that we’ve seen come into existence since we’ve been together,” John told US TV network NBC in March.

    “For this legislation (gay marriage) to come through is joyous, and we should celebrate it.”

    Several celebrities congratulated the pair on social media, including Hugh Grant who write on Twitter “Groom Groom — Britain races into the future. Congrats Elton and David. Congrats enlightened UK.”

    Elizabeth Hurley posted a photo of herself with the “newly wed Elton John” on Twitter, showing the actor wearing a cream lacy dress and John wearing red-tinted glasses, a suit with a burgundy striped tie and a rose pinned to the lapel.

    The 2005 celebration was a much grander affair, with 650 guests invited.

    “Sir Elton”, who was knighted in 1998, was ranked number four in the most recent Sunday Times newspaper Rich List of British and Irish musicians, with a personal wealth estimated at £240 million ($375 million, 306 million euros).

    Early in his career, John hid his sexuality and married a woman. He later became an advocate for gay rights and has been active in the fight against AIDS.

    AFP

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