WHEN Sarah, Duchess of York was entertained by the Queen this month, it was widely interpreted by royal watchers as a sign that the wedding of her daughter, Princess Beatrice, might be imminent.
But it is now being rumoured that it was actually a different relationship to which the monarch was giving her blessing.
Fergie is said to have rekindled her romance with her former husband, the Duke of York. Friends claim the couple are so close that they will eventually formalise their reunion.
"Mark my words, they will remarry," said one pal. "It is only a matter of time."
Another friend said: "It wouldn't surprise me at all. They are a wonderful couple together and, better still, pretty amazing parents."
The couple married in 1986 and divorced in 1996. However, they have remained close. Custody of their two daughters was shared between them, and the Duchess even continued to live at the Duke's home of Sunninghill Park until 2004, when he moved to the Royal Lodge.
In 2007, Sarah, Duchess of York, purchased Dolphin House, a mansion directly beside the Royal Lodge. But in 2008, a fire at Dolphin House resulted in her moving into the Royal Lodge, again sharing a home with the Duke of York, where they both remain.
They joined Beatrice, 25, and her sister, Princess Eugenie, 23, for the weekend at the Queen's Scottish retreat, Balmoral. Notably, the Duke of Edinburgh had not arrived in the Highlands by that point.
He is, apparently, yet to forgive the Duchess, 53, who was at Balmoral in 1992 when a tabloid newspaper published photographs of her having her toes sucked by John Bryan, her "financial adviser".
She had not been invited back until this month.
In little-noticed comments in 2009, Prince Andrew said he did not rule out remarrying her. "Do we have to be married?" he asked. "Let's put it another way, I can neither confirm nor deny the possibility. We have two great children. We still look after them."
The Duke, 53, has been linked to a string of women, but none of the relationships has endured. Fergie's friendships have also faltered.
In 1999, she told an interviewer: "There was no reason for Andrew and I to get divorced; there wasn't another person in our lives to go to."
A spokesman for the Duchess declined to comment.