Elton John to wed after 21 years with partner

WINDSOR, United Kingdom - British pop legend Elton John will marry long-time partner David Furnish on Sunday, the ninth anniversary of their civil partnership, with a ceremony in Windsor, home of the castle beloved by Queen Elizabeth II.

The 67-year-old singer posted a picture of an invitation on photo-sharing website Instagram, 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.

Around 50 guests, including David and Victoria Beckham, Elizabeth Hurley and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, have been invited to the ceremony, due to take place at their home in Windsor, west of London, according to British press reports.

Although known for his flamboyance, the ceremony is expected to be "a small, intimate do" with guests being served festive canapes and mulled wine, according to the Daily Mail.

The picture of the wedding invitation was among the first three posts to his newly opened Instagram account.

The others show a view of the couple's estate under the words "Good morning! Nice day for a wedding. #ShareTheLove" and of two pairs of children's shoes by a roaring fire.

"Our little ring bearers are fast asleep, and their shoes are polished and ready for tomorrow's celebration," read the caption.

It is believed the ring bearers will be the couple's two sons, Zachary, three, and Elijah, 23 months. John said earlier this year that he and Furnish were planning to marry "very quietly" in the presence of their two children.

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 the institution began in Britain in 2005 and have now been together for 21 years.

"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.

"Having our civil partnership was an incredible breakthrough for people that have campaigned for a long time - through the '60s and the '50s in England when it was so hard to be gay and hard to be open about it. And it was a criminal act.

"So for this legislation (gay marriage) to come through is joyous, and we should celebrate it. We shouldn't just say, 'Oh, well we have a civil partnership. We're not going to bother to get married.' We will get married," he said.

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

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.