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UK’s king asks windfarm deal profits be directed to public

LONDON (AP) — King Charles III has asked that profits from a 1 billion-a-year ($1.2 billion) Crown Estate windfarm deal be used for the public good rather than the royal family.

The Crown Estate confirmed Thursday that it had signed lease agreements for six offshore wind projects. Such a windfall would normally lead to a jump in funding for the royals under complex arrangements that support the activities of the monarchy in the U.K.

But Buckingham Palace said Charles asked that the money be used to help the public, which is struggling to make ends meet amid soaring inflation that is running at levels last seen in the 1980s.

The new king highlighted the cost-of-living crisis in his first Christmas message and paid tribute to people who “support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organizations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.”

The Crown Estate is an independently-run, commercial business, but its profits are used as a benchmark for the funding of the Sovereign Grant — the public money that funds the royal family’s official work. The grant, which is now 86.3 million pounds ($106.4 million) a year, is calculated as a percentage of the profits generated by the estate, lucrative real estate holdings that are owned by the king by virtue of his role as monarch.

The grant equals 15% of the estate’s profit. An additional 10% was agreed on for a period of 10 years starting in 2017-2018 for the Buckingham Palace restoration project.