By Jeff Labrecque
Updated December 06, 2011 at 09:47 PM EST
Laurie Sparham

File this under: Otherwise Inconsequential News Item That Gains Import Because of Barely Tangentially Related News Item

Queen Elizabeth II is feeling the crunch of the British recession. According to ABC News, she and the crown will have to make do with only $50 million of the tax-payers’ money per year — approximately half the family’s take pre-economic downturn. In fact, the royals are renting out St. James palace to corporate bigwigs during next summer’s Olympics to raise funds, and there are even reports that the Queen would welcome some help in paying her high utility bills.

Fortunately, there are loyal subjects who are willing to contribute more than their share during these difficult times. Take Helen Mirren, for example, who won an Oscar for portraying Her Majesty in The Queen. The sexy 66-year-old actress is auctioning off the famous red bikini that reminded so many of the icon’s timeless bodaciousness to raise money for the needy. “It happens to be one of the best bikinis in the world because it fits!,” Mirren told a British morning show. “The minute I bought it I loved it because it’s so hard to find a bikini that fits if you’ve got bosoms like I have.”

Pause. Breathe. Recover.

“I would love it to raise money for an organisation that I support called Age UK,” she continued. “I love the idea of this little flimsy summer thing is going towards helping old people stay warm and comfortable and toasty in the wintertime.”

One queen forced to pinch pennies at Christmas time; the other, baring sharing her god-given gifts in generosity. O. Henry himself would weep!