Belgium's Queen Fabiola hits back in allowance row
Queen Fabiola of Belgium, the elderly widow of King Baudouin at the centre of a royal row over her yearly allowance, on Thursday denied she was planning to bequeath public monies to relatives and the church.
"In no way did I ever plan nor do I plan to put money from the stipend into the foundation," she said in a rare statement after coming under heavy attack from the media, the public and politicians for allegedly creating a foundation to help her nephews and nieces and Catholic charities on her death.
Paid a yearly stipend of around 1.4 million euros since Baudouin's death in 1993, critics claimed the frail 84-year-old -- born Fabiola de Mora y Aragon to a Spanish count and countess -- was planning to funnel the funds to relatives via the foundation set up in September.
Its statutes however clearly state that the childless queen's nieces and nephews can only receive financial aid "for a limited period" and on condition of facing "serious physical, material, psychological or moral difficulties."
"All the money from the stipend is used on the expenses of my home, the main item being the wages of the staff," she wrote in the statement released by her lawyer.
Cash for the foundation stemmed from her own resources, she added, "property and art works that I carefully kept until today" that she and and her brothers inherited between the two world wars from a members of her father's family.
None of her Spanish relatives had ever been beneficiaries of Baudouin's estate, she added.
© 2013 AFP