Leader: You have to take your hat off to her

Folklore has it that hatters are mad. Actually, the mercury used in the past in the making of hats damaged the brains of the workers, causing them to slur their speech and behave oddly.

Health and safety regulation has long since fixed that problem, though it is tempting to advise Philip Treacy, the creator of the antlers-toilet-seat-pretzel confection Princess Beatrice wore to the recent royal wedding, that he should have his mercury levels checked. Much more troubling appears to be the possibility that mere viewing of hats now causes insanity. How else can one explain the fact some people appear willing to pay at least 80,000 for that hat, gloriously described on eBay as a "unique sculptural celebratory headpiece"?

The Queen of Hearts, in Lewis Carroll's tale, did not find the Mad Hatter funny, constantly sentencing him to death. Alice was not amused by his tea party either, tiring rapidly of his nonsensical ditties and incomprehensible riddles. But Princess Beatrice, somewhat unfairly lampooned for daring to wear something equally nonsensical and incomprehensible, is now entitled to be extremely amused. Mad though the eventual successful bidder may be, the money two charities will receive is an excellently sensible outcome.