Queen wanted poverty fund to help pay palace heating bill

A GOVERNMENT fund intended to provide subsidised heating to low-income Britons got some interest from an unexpected source: Queen Elizabeth II, who wanted help paying the bills at Buckingham Palace.

The official response, according to documents unearthed by The Independent newspaper in London, was that the handout might prove to be an embarrassment if word got out. The paper quotes an unnamed functionary as gently reminding the royal household that the money was meant for local authorities, housing associations, and the like.

The newspaper said royal aides were looking for a way to pay the queen’s spiralling utility bills, which had risen by 50% to £1 million (€1.2m) in 2004.

A letter written that year and addressed to Britain’s culture department asked whether the queen could get a community energy grant to upgrade heating systems at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Officials were receptive to the idea, but eventually decided against it, the paper said, citing documents obtained under Britain’s Freedom of Information Act.

A spokeswoman confirmed Royal officials had explored the possibility of getting money under the programme, saying it was part of an attempt to reduce its burden on the taxpayer and improve the palaces’ energy efficiency.

She claimed the royal household was not initially aware the money had been earmarked for low-income Britons.


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