BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Sunday, 16 June, 2002, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Prince Michael defends peppercorn rent
The Kents at Buckingham Palace
The Kents say MPs were not refused entry to their home
Prince Michael of Kent has hit out at the "trivial and uninformed" public view of the controversially low rent he pays for a luxury apartment.

After MPs called for the Queen to evict Kensington Palace's VIP residents and put their apartments on a more commercial footing, Prince Michael insisted: "We're not quitters."

We pull our weight for the family and the country

Prince Michael of Kent

He said his rent - a reported 69-a-week for a five bedroom, four reception room home - was "in the gift of the Queen".

The prince told the Sunday Telegraph: "People assume our lifestyle is paid for by someone else, but it's paid for by us. Except the house, clearly."

'Obligation'

Although the prince admitted he did not carry out official royal duties he said he performed "a lot of public ones".

Kensington Palace
The Kents are thought to pay 69 a week to live in the Palace
Among them were 264 appearances on behalf of 94 charities over the past 53 months.

"We pull our weight for the family and the country," the prince claimed. "And we do it because we feel we are privileged, and privilege doesn't work without obligation."

He said criticism from MPs and the press had been difficult to take, particularly as it was directed at his family.

The prince said: "The public view of us is trivial and uninformed. I feel it's gone far enough.

"These days you have to plug yourself, although it's very much against my instinct."

Marching orders

The Kents' residence could potentially command a commercial rent up to 100 times higher.

The House of Commons Public Accounts committee spent three hours inspecting apartments in Kensington Palace to assess whether the taxpayer is getting value for money.

They were not allowed in to the prince's apartments, although he insisted they would have been had they asked.

After the tour committee chairman Edward Leigh said it would not surprise him if the Kents, who also own a large home in Gloucestershire, were given their marching orders out of the palace.

Swansea West MP Alan Williams went further, claiming the Kents' peppercorn rent was a "scandal".

He said: "Think of all the anguish of people working in the public service - people who cannot afford to live in even tiny apartments - and we are having to look for cubicles in which to put our teachers and nurses."

See also:

13 Jun 02 | UK Politics
13 Jun 02 | UK Politics
12 Jun 02 | UK Politics
04 Jun 02 | UK
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes