SIR Elton John and long-term love DAVID FURNISH 'married' in a civil partnership ceremony in Windsor, England, this morning (21DEC05).

The legendary rocker, 58, and Canadian film-maker, 43, 'wed' under a new British law, which came into effect today, giving official recognition of same sex relationships and the same employment, pension and inheritance rights as married couples.

The couple, dressed in black suits, arrived together and waved to fans and well-wishers before entering Windsor's 17th century Guildhall for the 45-minute ceremony.

The small service was attended by John's mother and stepfather SHEILA and FRED FAREBROTHER, Furnish's parents GLADYS and JACK, and a small selection of friends, including the artist Sam Taylor-Wood, who organised the couple's pre-wedding bash on Monday night (19DEC05).

The 'newlyweds' left Guildhall at 11:45am and were congratulated by the glare of paparazzi cameras and confetti, before returning to their saloon car for the short drive to their mansion. An ecstatic John said the ceremony was "great, thanks".

John and Furnish started dating after meeting at one of the singer's dinner parties in October 1993. Before coming out as a homosexual, John was previously married to sound engineer RENATE BLAUEL, but they divorced in 1987.

Later today, Donatella Versace, George Michael, Elizabeth Hurley, SHARON and Ozzy Osbourne, Victoria Beckham, Lulu and Cilla Black will join the happy couple at a star-studded reception at their country home.

British royals Prince Charles and CAMILLA, Duchess of Cornwall also married at the Guildhall in April (05).