Princess Astrid offers to justify her allowance

Princess Astrid has said that she is prepared to provide greater clarity about what happens with the funds that she receives as an allowance from the people of Belgium. The princess made the comments following the controversy involving her granny, the Dowager Queen Fabiola, who set up a foundation to avoid her Spanish kinsfolk having to pay Belgian inheritance tax when she dies.

Princess Astrid's comments had not been expected. 'Royalty', a programme on independent television, was covering the princess's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. On the plane back the princess, King Albert's daughter, spoke about the allowances that some members of the royal family receive. It was the first occasion that a member of Belgium's royal house spoke on the matter since the recent controversy.

Princess Astrid, Crown Prince Filip's sister, said that she was quite prepared to bring clarity about how she spends her allowance. She added that if the Belgian Parliament decided to withdraw her allowance she would accept this decision.

Princess Astrid told 'Royalty' that she understood demands for checks and transparency. By offering to provide greater clarity the princess hopes to remove distrust about the allowance system.

The Princess Astrid receives some 320,000 euros (273,000 pounds sterling) annually from the public purse. She insists that the money goes to good causes and causes that benefit well-being in Belgium.