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British Queen on a cost cutting spree

December 18, 2008 11:05 IST

Determined that the royal family is not seen as extravagant while the nation tightens its belts, the British Queen has ordered her chefs to serve up leftovers from the Christmas feast.

Queen Elizabeth II has also urged grandsons William, 26, and Harry, 24, to keep their winter holidays as 'low-key' as possible.

Obviously, in times of financial downturn, it would be bad publicity for the family if the young royals are seen partying in exclusive London nightclubs or exotic locations.

The 82-year-old monarch has a personal fortune of 320 million pounds (475 million dollars, 355 million euros), according to The Sunday Times newspaper's 2008 Rich List, but is not a spendthrift.

The sovereign has ordered a festive crackdown to acknowledge the credit crunch starting with her Christmas crackers, a media report said.

'The directive has come from the top that the family must be in tune with the rest of the country,' a royal source was quoted as saying by the News of the World. 'She is aware that extravagance would not be welcomed at this time.'

The frugal monarch has axed posh gifts from inside the party favourites. She has also put a 50 pounds limit on all family presents, ordered staff to reuse wrapping, the report said.

In past years, the familys hand-made crackers have contained items like Montblanc gold cuff-links and expensive lighters. But Royal warrant holder Tom Smith, which has made crackers for the monarch for 100 years, has been ordered to use cheaper gifts this year.

The royals plan to gather at the Queen's Norfolk estate for Christmas.

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