By Sara Nathan
By Royal appointment: Ellie Goulding, 24, is to perform at the Royal Wedding after-dinner party
Prince William and Kate Middleton have asked a rising British star to perform at their wedding reception – and will be serenaded by her touching version of Elton John’s hit Your Song.
Pretty blonde Ellie Goulding, 24, was shocked to receive a personal invitation from the soon-to-be-Royal newlyweds to perform at Buckingham Palace at the after-dinner party, the Daily Mail can reveal.
The talented singer, who won the BBC Sound of 2010 poll and was also awarded the Critics Choice Award at the 2010 BRIT Awards, will be the only singer to perform at the reception.
And last night, a source said Miss Goulding had been chosen by the Royal couple as they were both ‘big fans’ of her music and had bought her debut album Lights, which topped the charts following its release in March 2010.
The insider told the Mail: ‘Ellie was knocked off her feet when she received the invitation to perform for Prince William and Kate – and was so hugely honoured when they said they were both big fans of her music.
‘She still can’t quite believe that she will perform for the Royal newlyweds, all the young Royal guests and their friends, it hasn’t sunk in yet.’
Fans: William and Kate, pictured leaving a wedding rehearsal tonight, invited the singer to serenade them with her cover of Elton John's Your Song
The petite star’s hits have included singles Starry Eyed, Guns And Horses, and The Writer, which peaked at numbers 4, 26, and 19 respectively.
But it was her beautiful version of Sir Elton John’s 1970 hit Your Song that helped her gain wider recognition as it was chosen for the John Lewis Christmas advertising campaign.
The cover became Miss Goulding's highest-charting single to date, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart.
Miss Goulding’s appearance is in keeping with the theme of the evening, a dinner/dance for 300 of Prince Wiliam and Kate’s closest friends and family.
Rumours have circulated that the couple were also keen to have Beyonce and Jay-Z perform.
Chart topper: The Starry Eyed singer's touching version of the classic song helped her gain wider recognition as it was chosen for the John Lewis Christmas advertising campaign
The Mail told how William has insisted he wants the party to be different ‘from the formal champagne and canapé reception being thrown by the Queen immediately after the wedding.’
Miss Goulding is set to serenade the newlyweds with her version of Your Song, a song written by Sir Elton John, a close friend of William’s late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Far from Prince William’s gilded childhood and his fiancee’s middle-class upbringing, Miss Goulding was brought up in Hereford in a council house that she said was filled with ‘moth-eaten, flea-ridden furniture with holes in it was handed down from my nana’.
And in somewhat of an understatement, Miss Goulding revealed: ‘I didn’t have the best childhood.’
The odds were most definitely stacked against her making it in the cut-throat music industry after her father walked out on her family when she was just five, leaving her mother, a supermarket check-out worker, to bring up four children single-handedly.
Miss Goulding has talked of about her hatred for her stepfather and told how she witnessed some traumatic scenes growing up, including visits from bailiffs who repossessed the TV as she sat watching it with her brother and sisters.
Speculation: Rumours have circulated that the couple were also keen to have Beyonce and Jay-Z perform
The singer said last year: ‘There was me, my older sister, my younger sister and my brother living with my mum and stepdad. I shared a room with my sisters in this tiny little council house.
‘We didn't have much money and my stepdad was horrible. He wasn't strict and he wasn't drunk, he just wasn't very intelligent.
‘He had no brains at all. He was a lorry driver with a tattoo of a bulldog smoking a spliff. The other tattoo he had was a snake with a dagger through it.’
Her mother has since re-married and Miss Goulding said: ‘I don't know why my mum was with him, to be honest.
‘I think it was because he was willing to take on four kids. But they never got on. She was with him for about 15 years.
‘It was horrible. I was desperate to get out so I got really stuck in at school and tried my best to get a great education.’
The singer left home at 16 and then funded herself through university, adding: ‘I never remember having a plan. All I could think about was how I was going to afford to get into college or where I was going to stay because I hated being at home.
I didn't really have time to think about anything in the future. I didn't think about a career or anything.
After studying two years of a three-year drama degree, she left the University Of Kent, Canterbury, to focus on her up-and-coming pop career.
Her determination and hard work finally landed her a big break when she was signed to Polydor Records in 2009. Even before that she had a publishing deal and wrote songs for singer including X Factor finalist Diana Vickers.
But of course as soon as she became famous, Miss Goulding’s father John resurfaced, calling to wish her well.
And she said: "He was in a band that almost got signed when he was young and I wonder if that's partly to do with the call.’
Miss Goulding is happily in a relationship with up-and-coming Radio One DJ Greg James and added: ‘I think a lot of people would be closed about such a weird childhood but I just want other girls and boys in my situation to know they can do something and they can break away from it like I did.’