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Prime Minister John Major Wednesday outlined plans to give Queen Elizabeth II a travel allowance -- probably amounting to well over $15 million a year.

The money will be available to fund trips by the queen and other members of the royal family to the 3,000 official engagements they undertake in Britain and abroad each year.

The new allowance will cover the cost of the royal train and aircraft devoted to serving royalty, but will also allow Buckingham Palace to arrange for royals to travel on commercial airlines and trains.

Major said the new allowance, which would replace a system under which government departments meet the cost of royal travel as part of their general spending, would help to control costs.

Government officials said royal travel costs the British taxpayer some $14 million a year.

The queen traveled on a commercial airliner for the first time late last year when she flew Air New Zealand to the Auckland summit of Commonwealth heads of government.

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