Outrageous royal wedding hat topped out at $131,000 for charity

The improper topper worn by Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton last month will send $131,000 to two international charities based in Britain.

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    Britain's Prince Andrew, left, and his daughter, Princess Beatrice, leave Westminster Abbey at the Royal Wedding in London April 29. Princess Beatrice's massive ring-and-bow-shaped hat turned heads at the wedding of her cousin Prince William last month and has since become an Internet sensation. The Philip Treacy creation has been compared to a toilet seat or a pretzel and has been endlessly photoshopped to feature, for example, a cat crawling through it.
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The hat that launched a thousand snarky online comments has redeemed itself by earning a tidy treasure for charity.

The creation Britain's Princess Beatrice wore to the royal wedding last month sold for 81,000 pounds – more than $130,000 – yesterday on eBay.

The proceeds will benefit UNICEF UK, which works in 190 countries to protect children's rights to education and health care, and Children in Crisis, which advocates that "education is the best possible route out of poverty, bringing hope for a better future for families, communities and over time, whole societies."

The rose-colored hat, which looked like a giant wedding ring with a bow tied atop it, has its own Facebook page – "Princess Beatrice's ridiculous Royal Wedding hat" – which has been liked more than 143,000 times.

"I for one am very glad to see that much good was made out of that awful hat," said one Facebook poster. Another added that it was the "coolest hat in the world .. now in some yet unknown hand."

"I've been amazed by the amount of attention the hat has attracted," Beatrice is quoted as saying in the auction listing. "It's a wonderful opportunity to raise as much money as possible for two fantastic charities. I hope whoever wins the auction has as much fun with the hat as I have."

Beatrice is the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. She wore the hat to the April 29 wedding of her cousin, Prince William, and Catherine Middleton, seen by more than 20 million TV viewers in Britain alone.

The unusual hat was designed by Irish milliner Phillip Treacy. If you think it is outrageous, check out the gallery of other hats at the Phillip Treacy website.

The hat also inspired a gallery of spoof Beatrice hats on Facebook.

Auctioning off items from celebrities for charity is hardly new, and "the hat" didn't set any records. In December 2010, for example, a single glove worn by Michael Jackson fetched $300,000.

It wasn't even the highest-priced item auctioned for charity from a member of the Royal Family. According to a celebrity news and gossip website run by Yahoo! News, "the dress that supposedly sparked the romance between Prince William and Kate Middleton sold in a London auction for a shocking $125,884."

The hat was obviously meant to be worn only for a very special occasion. "This is a gravity-defying hat," the eBay website warned, according to CNN. "This statement piece is worn on the front hairline secured by a clear wire headband that is easily disguised by the wearer's hair."

"Royal wedding watchers compared the flamboyant Philip Treacy creation to a Turkey Twizzler, a toilet seat, and a pretzel," said a story in Britain's Daily Mail.

"I've been amazed by the amount of attention the hat has attracted," Princess Beatrice said on the eBay auction page. "It's a wonderful opportunity to raise as much money as possible for two fantastic charities. I hope whoever wins the auction has as much fun with the hat as I have."

"I've been surprised by the overwhelming response to 'the hat,' " added Mr. Treacy. "... I'm delighted, flattered and touched by HRH Princess Beatrice's decision to donate the hat to charity. I hope that people all over the world will be generous and that this hat will benefit many."

It appears that it will.

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