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Subject QUEEN ELIZABETH USES SUBSIDIZED HEATING TO HEAT BUCKINGHAM PALACE
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Original Message Elizabeth is using subsidized heating funds set aside for poor people who need assistance to heat her palace.

LONDON (AP) -- A government fund intended to provide subsidized 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, 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.

"I also feel a bit uneasy about the probable adverse press coverage if the Palace were given a grant at the expense of say a hospital," the paper quoted the official as saying. "Sorry this doesn't sound more positive."

The newspaper said royal aides were looking for a way to pay the queen's spiraling utility bills, which had risen by 50 percent to more than 1 million pounds ($1.58 million) 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 the heating systems at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, the monarch's favorite weekend residence.

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

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman confirmed that royal officials had explored the possibility of getting money under the program, saying it was part of an attempt to reduce both its burden on the taxpayer and improve the palaces' energy efficiency. She claimed the royal household was not initially aware that the money had been earmarked for low-income Britons.

Story here: [link to hosted.ap.org]
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