20 May 2011 The hat that launched a thousand headlines when it appeared at the British royal wedding last month is about to have an unexpected second life as a fundraiser for the work of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The pale pink hat worn by Princess Beatrice to the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 29 April in London – and which drew immediate criticism from countless fashion observers – is being auctioned on the eBay website, with the proceeds to be divided equally between UNICEF and the Children in Crisis charity.
The auction, which opened on 12 May, will close on Sunday night, but already at least 83 bids have been received and the current leading bid – as of Friday morning, New York time – is £50,400.05 (or about $81,570).
Bids have been made from around the world, including from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Princess Beatrice said she has been amazed by the amount of attention that the hat, which was designed by the milliner Philip Treacy, has drawn.
“I hope whoever wins the auction has as much fun with the hat as I have,” she said. “I really hope this idea can raise lots of money to give children a better future.”
Katie Morrison, a spokesperson for UNICEF UK, said the aid agency had not expected the frenzy of bidding over the past week.
“It’s wonderful that something that had such mixed press has really been used to do some good and to raise some money for children,” she said. “We’re surprised and we’re delighted.”
Ms. Morrison said that UNICEF could use its half of the proceeds – based on the current top bid – to buy enough anti-malaria mosquito nets for more than 6,000 families, enough water pumps to provide 75 villages with safe drinking water or enough vaccines to protect nearly 70,000 children against measles.
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