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THE LONG GOODBYE: CAMILLA WILL GO TO FUNERAL.

Byline: JANE KERR, Royal Reporter

THE Queen has invited Camilla Parker Bowles to attend the Queen Mother's funeral on Tuesday.

The gesture comes after years of Mrs Parker Bowles being frozen out by the Queen Mother, who could never publicly accept her relationship with Prince Charles.

The two important figures in Charles's life had not met for many years.

However the invitation to the funeral recognises Camilla's relationship with the Queen Mum during the years of her marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles, the Queen's Silver Stick-in-Waiting. He was the Queen Mother's godson.

Rather than accompany Prince Charles, Camilla will go to the Westminster Abbey funeral with her sister Annabel Elliot.

Camilla's former husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, who has since remarried, has also been invited and will go separately. Buckingham Palace will announce the invitation today. A senior royal aide said he understood that Mrs Parker Bowles was "pleased" by the Queen's gesture.

The Queen's refusal for many years to meet Camilla meant Charles would not put his grandmother in the position of going against his mother's wishes.

He was also painfully aware of the Queen Mother's fierce disapproval of his separation and divorce from Diana. The Queen Mother believed royal duty should be put above personal happiness.

However, she did allow the prince and his companion to use her Scottish residence, Birkhall, on the Balmoral estate.

Only in the last month did the Queen's attitude soften, when she attended a concert hosted by the couple, her first meeting with Camilla in two years.

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PLEASED: Mrs Parker Bowles
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2002
Words:259
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