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While politicians agonise over the size of the Government’s debt, one of the most expensive publicly funded projects in recent years is quietly getting under way.

Princess Lilian of Sweden

Hejdå to Sweden's Welsh-born Princess Lilian, who has died aged 97

Sweden’s Princess Lilian captured the heart of a prince – and then an entire nation

Renters paid a total of £7.7 billion more in 2012 than in 2008

The number of private renters in England rose to 3.8 million in 2012, an increase of 23% since 2008, says new report

It's too hard to spend a penny these days. Let's follow Canada and scrap them

All the penny serves for is an unwanted reminder of our financial mess

Win a tailor-made trip to Graubünden, Switzerland’s No. 1 holiday destination

Discover Swiss alpine holidays - your way

Kim Jong-un is honoured to meet Dennis Rodman

The Last Word: Just a slam-dunk away from the goal of World Peace as Kim Jong-un becomes friends with Dennis Rodman

Some day we’ll see Terry at the Home Office, Beckham in the Elysée Palace

The Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona

What makes a cult building?

Every city in the world is commissioning architects to design iconic architecture – a production line of ever flashier-looking objects of grim bread-and-circuses banality. Why does it takes a tramp-like Catalonian vegetarian, and a young Italian with Mussolini on his mind to remind us that architecture – really engrossing architecture – is worthy of cult worship.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic medical examiner, addresses reporters during a news conference held near Versailles

'Brutal' Richard's I's 'lion' heart was soaked in holy balm to ease his passage into heaven

Autopsy of 12th-century monarchy reveals heart embalmed in purifying frankincense

Amsterdam plans sober party for Dutch inauguration

The Dutch capital is known for boozy stag nights and pot-smoking tourists. But for what could be the nation's party of the decade — the abdication of Queen Beatrix and accession to the throne of her son Willem-Alexander — Amsterdam wants to keep things low key.

January 31, 2013: A man holds a placard depicting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and reading

Spain's crisis could not have come at a worse moment - for her and for Europe

If our Prime Minister thinks he's having a hard time, he should put himself in the position of his Spanish counterpart. That country's misery affects us all

6% of people want to be buried in their shed

New report reveals surprising shed statistics as 2013 Shed of the Year competition is officially launched

Katherine Manley as Creusa;

Medea, Coliseum, London

David McVicar’s production of Charpentier’s Médée – or Medea, in Christopher Cowell‘s felicitously idiomatic translation – is the most brilliant show to have graced the Coliseum in years. It’s by turns bold and brash – how could it not be, given the tabloid luridness of its subject matter? – and it’s also irresistibly seductive, as befits one of French Baroque music’s most ravishing scores which, after three centuries, is getting its first professional British staging.

Modern classic: New York’s NoMad hotel is the latest to mix traditional style with contemporary touches

Juliet Kinsman: Ancient and modern make the perfect bedfellows

Something to Declare

Snowdrop season: Can you tell your 'Primrose Warburg' from your 'Spindlestone Surprise'?

The craze for snowdrops continues, with more and more gardens opening in February to show off their collections. I like snowdrops en masse and some of the best are in old gardens where the flowers have been left to their own devices to spread, often in areas some little way from the house. That's how it is at Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire, which I visited for the first time this month.

Doctor Who goes 3D for its 50th anniversary

Technology has finally caught up with Doctor Who, which is to be screened in 3D for its 50th anniversary later this year.

Pentillie Castle restoration: Archaeologist finds 'body of man who built it' during excavation

Human remains discovered at a stately home are believed to be those of the man that built it - ordering that he be buried in his best clothes with his pipe as he waited for the afterlife.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape