Balimmoral, Scotland - "At any rate I'll never go there again!" said Alice as she picked her way through the wood after attending the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. "It's the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!" Little did Alice know that the Mad Hatter was actually a Cold War Russian agent concocting more than tea in his bugged teapot gift to the Queen.
The James Bond-style spying ploy came to light this week when MI5 divulged that a recent security sweep at Balmoral Castle had netted an electric teapot, or samovar, given to the Queen by a Russian gymnastics team some 20 years ago.
The ornate red and yellow urn contained a highly sophisticated electrical wiring device capable of listening in on private conversations and then transmitting them to Russian operatives.
The teapot was a favourite of the Queen Mother and it was prominently displayed in one of the castle's private rooms that often hosted intimate conversations between the Queen and Royal family with Prime Ministers, Presidents, and a host of world leaders.
A Palace spokesperson was quoted as saying, "The Queen is not amused. She well remembers hosting the Russian aerobatics team about 20 years ago because of some rather keen interest shown by Prince Philip towards one of the gymnasts. She nearly broke the teapot over the Prince's head afterwards and regrets not doing so now."
Harrods' owner and Royal albatross Mohammed Al Fayed has immediately instructed his team of solicitors to file a brief demanding public release of the teapot tapes.
Al Fayed's lead solicitor, Goahead An Sueme QC, believes the Russian Teapot Tapes will prove Prince Philip's role in plotting the murder of Princess Diana and the death of his son, Dodi in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
"She'll wish she would have broken that teapot over his head then, when the Russian Teapot Tapes are made public," wagged Solicitor-Queen's Council Sueme. Mr Sueme also announced that the upcoming Harrods' January Sale opening gala would headline Russian celebrity gymnast Olga Listenovich.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose personal telephone calls were illegally monitored by the Bush administration for years as part of the security dossier kept on him, was dismayed about the Russian spying at Balmoral.
"First you can't trust Bush. Now you can't trust the Russians. What is this world coming to? You certainly can't trust Gordon Brown. It seems I'm the only one anyone can trust," affirmed a toothily smiling Tony, making eye-contact with no one in particular.
"Cherie trusts me. Now that I'm a Catholic, I've disposed of the condoms and we follow the church's teachings on the rhythm method and troop withdrawal. Maybe I'm getting that mixed up with my peace envoy mission in the Middle East."
"Whatever, you can trust me to draw up a timeline for withdrawal on both fronts," said multitasking Tony, adding "Luckily the Americans taught me to drink coffee so I never went near that teapot in Balmoral."
Fortunately for the Queen and the Good and Great of the Western World, the Russian teapot espionage ploy seems not to have gone according to plan.
After extensive investigation of the suspected Russian samovar at MI5 laboratories, it has come to light that the spying device was defective.
"We're used to Russian defectives," explained MI5 Chief Gadget Inspector, Q matter-of-factly. "Sure the teapot had well-concealed and highly sophisticated electrical wiring capable of bugging and transmitting," said Q. "But it turns out Her Majesty has her mother to thank for foiling the Russian's plans."
Inspector Q explained, "The Queen Mum had a reputation for her daily gin and Dubonnet and hid her stash in hatboxes and other concealments all over the place. Come to find out, in Balmoral she hid her gin in that Russian teapot."
"It's amazing what 110-proof Bombay Sapphire gin will do to electrical wiring. Ate clean through the insulation and corroded the copper. Just goes to prove, there's no queen like an old queen."
"Thanks to that old lush, the Russians didn't hear a thing," proclaimed Inspector Q proudly, extolling the virtues of British counter-intelligence.
Upon hearing the news that there were no Russian Teapot Tapes, Mohamed Al Fayed announced that this year's Harrods' January Sale would be opened not by celebrity Russian gymnast Olga Listenovich as previously announced. Instead Olga will be replaced by Zara Phillips.
"We have so much in common," remarked Mr Al Fayed, "since Zara fell and broke her collarbone recently in a riding accident in France and her favourite horse had to be put down." Harrods' January Sale starts 27 December.