05/28/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
In the strongest sign yet that she's being embraced by the elder faction of the Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth has invited Camilla Parker Bowles to the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty's coronation, considered the major royal event of the year, reports British news outlets.
Parker Bowles, who has been Prince Charles's companion even before his divorce from Princess Diana had been finalized (and whose very existence Diana had blamed for the break-up of the marriage), has received a personal invitation to a Westminster Abbey service on June 2, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
Parker Bowles also may be a guest at private family gatherings in honor of the coronation and for Prince William's 21st birthday next month, according to some reports.
Slowly, Parker Bowles has been showing her face at royal occasions. She was in attendance last year at Princess Margaret's memorial service, at the invitation of the princess's daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, and was at the Queen Mother's funeral.
She also was at Charles's side for last year's Golden Jubilee concerts on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
But as the BBC notes, this latest invitation from the Queen is highly significant -- and will likely rekindle speculation on whether Charles, 54, and Camilla, 55, could marry.
Representatives of the Church of England have long argued against such a union given the divorced status of both parties -- which, it is believed in some quarters, could threaten the stability of the monarchy.