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Queen to pay rent on cousin’s apartment

London, Dec. 18 (Reuters): Queen Elizabeth moved today to head off growing public anger over the use of taxpayers’ money to fund the lavish lifestyles of minor royals.

The Queen, one of the world’s richest women, will help pay rent on the luxurious Kensington Palace apartment of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

She has also agreed that the apartment of her sister, the late Princess Margaret, will be opened to the public as an education centre and for exhibiting the royal dress collection.

Under pressure from parliamentarians, she agreed to chip in £120,000 a year of her own money for the “grace and favour” apartment of her cousin Prince Michael and his wife.

The couple, who pay just a token rent for the five-bedroomed apartment, undertake few royal duties and also have their own luxury home in the country. Newspapers say they pay as little as £69 a week for the flat in the central London palace where the late Princess Diana lived.

“The Queen has agreed to pay this rent from her own funds for up to seven years,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

A palace spokeswoman said: “The Queen is conscious of her long-standing commitment to accommodate Prince and Princess Michael at Kensington Palace.”

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