News Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and ex-wife Mariam Aziz, pictured in 1999

A former international badminton player who became a bodyguard and close friend to the ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei abused her position to steal diamonds worth £11.6m from her “extremely wealthy” employer, a court heard yesterday.

Kelly Clarkson will face difficulties if she wants to take a ring which once belonged to Jane Austen out of the UK.

American Idol Kelly Clarkson faces export ban from UK Government over Jane Austen ring

The Government has stepped in to stop US singer Kelly Clarkson taking a gold and turquoise ring once owned by Jane Austen out of the country.

Convicted rapist Adam Mark escapes from Leyhill prison

Police are hunting a rapist who has absconded from prison.

Raja Harinder Singh Brar

The maharaja, the faked will and a 24-year wait for a £3bn inheritance

It is a fortune fit for a maharaja – the former Maharaja of Faridkot, Harinder Singh Brar, to be exact. And after a two-decade legal battle, a court in northern India has ruled that Brar’s will was forged, allowing his two daughters to inherit his vast £2.86bn legacy.

€100m Cannes jewel heist 'one of biggest ever'

The Carlton Hotel was a setting for Alfred Hitchcocks’s 1955 movie 'To Catch a Thief'

Carroll singer: the Welsh soprano Fflur Wyn is set to take the lead role in 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'

Why creating the perfect Alice is no tea party

Michael Volpe continues his monthly dispatch on staging a world premiere

Lev Leviev

Meet Lev Leviev, the billionaire who lost his sparkle in Cannes jewellery heist

The Carlton Intercontinental hotel on the exclusive Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes was the setting for an extraordinarily brazen diamond heist at the weekend, in which a lone gunman strolled into a jewellery exhibition taking place at the hotel and stuffed a suitcase with millions of pounds worth of Leviev diamonds before walking out. The owner of Leviev diamonds, Lev Leviev, is yet to comment on the theft. Apart from being a billionaire with an amazingly alliterative name,  just who is this wronged bling merchant?

€100m Cannes jewel heist 'one of biggest ever'

The Carlton Hotel was a setting for Alfred Hitchcocks’s 1955 movie 'To Catch a Thief'

Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun, 46, pleaded guilty to theft charges on Friday

Former Tiffany executive admits stealing over $2million worth of jewellery

'I knew it was illegal to steal, and I did so regardless… I'm very sorry', she told a judge

Fugitives Adrian Albrecht, left, and Milan Poparovic who escaped from a Swiss prison on Thursday

Pink Panther jewel thief breaks out of Swiss jail

Notorious gang behind robberies worth £200m used ladder to climb over prison fence

Opera Holland Park - I gioielli della Madonna dir Martin Lloyd-Evans

Classical review: I gioielli della Madonna, Opera Holland Park, London

The action is grittier, the stakes (and skirts) raised higher, and the orchestral noises louder than anything else of its time: if Puccini’s realist operas are verismo then Wolf-Ferrari’s 1911 I gioielli della Madonna is verissimo.

Review: The Engagements, By J Courtney Sullivan

Narratives with the ring of truth

Faye Jones said that she feared for her life

Schoolgirl who ran away with Turkish waiter ‘thought she was going to die’ on the run

Faye Jones, 16, apologises for what she put her family through

iStyle: Aussie rules

Considering the selling points of Australia include its preponderance of sunshine and sandy shores, not to mention the strong economy and high quality of life, it’s little wonder that our friends down under are so skilled at creating covetable swimwear.

1966 British actor Christopher Lee in his most famous role, that of Bram Stoker's Dracula.jpeg

‘Vampire' graveyard? Heads placed between legs of decapitated skeletons found in Poland

Rearrangement indicates ancient execution rituals designed to ensure the dead do not return to life, say archaeologists

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there