THE QUEEN’S office begged the government for more money at the same time as letting her extended family live in various London palaces rent-free, according to secret information unveiled by The Independent today.

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From 2004, Sir Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, asked for a rise in the Queen’s annual taxpayer-funded £15M buildings sub, only to be knocked back by the government, which later raised the issue of rent-free accommodation.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Independent found that minor royals living for nothing in Kensington Palace and St James’s Palace include the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra.

The list goes on to embrace royal staff, such as the Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures and the Mistress of the Robes.

In an odd twist, one residence the royal household don’t mind charging for is the Kensington Palace apartment once used by Princess Diana, over-riding warnings from the government that, “this is an issue which is likely to attract attention and comment”.

Despite getting its hands on the royal letters that gave rise to today’s revelations, The Independent says that, “the most sensitive and embarrassing documents still remain under wraps”.

The paper is currently fighting a court battle with the government to obtain those documents.