The cost to the British taxpayer of funding the Queen’s household has dropped by £1.8m in the last year after Her Majesty’s eBay account was suspended by Palace officials concerned that her online shopping had spiralled out of control.
‘We became suspicious when we noticed an ever greater volume of packages coming in and out of Buckingham Palace,’ said Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse. ‘It seems that of an evening Her Majesty was retiring to the royal chamber to surf the net for knock-off corgi paraphernalia, rare Daniel O’Donnell imports and Andy McNab first editions. She even tried to keep her spending sprees under wraps by using a variety of logins such as LusciousLiz, HelenMirrenInDisguise and LonelyGirl85.’
At the height of the Queen’s eBay obsession officials say it took two staff working full time to provide buyer feedback on her purchases and to pop all the bubble-wrap. ‘And for a while she seemed to get double the quantity of whatever she ordered,’ continued Reid. ‘We later discovered that in the quantity box she kept entering ‘One wants one’, so sellers were sending her two of everything.’
It is believed Her Majesty was introduced to the internet auction site by Cherie Blair who waxed lyrical about how ‘people would buy anything, even scrap bits of paper with Tony’s signature scrawled on’. Later the same evening the Queen registered as a seller on eBay in order to offload the gifts she had received from foreign dignitaries over the years, including 29 Breville Sandwich Toasters, 52 George Foreman grills and a selection of what her husband described as ‘dodgy-looking African wooden things’.
However, not everything Her Majesty tried to flog was a success. ‘At one point she attempted to sell access to Princes Edward and Andrew, but embarrassingly neither auction ever received a bid in excess of the reserve price of £5.’
Since the Queen’s Paypal account was frozen, Prince Charles is said to have developed an interest in eBay. ‘He’s got his eye on a second-hand crown, but he’s becoming increasingly frustrated that while he’s leading the bids, the auction still has years remaining.’
OllieP (hat-tip to Curbie Firetank)
6th July 2011