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Don't drop your tights, Lord Irvine

Dressed like a glittering beadle, he can blame his true ludicrousness on something else

Return of the masterpiece that survived fire, flood and woodworm

A DECORATIVE woodcarving widely considered to be the finest work of art of its type has returned to Britain after an absence of more than 300 years.

Monday books: And so to bed? Not a Pepys

JEM (AND SAM): A REVENGER'S TALE BY FERDINAND MOUNT, CHATTO & WINDUS, pounds 14.99 THE JOURNAL OF MRS PEPYS: PORTRAIT OF A MARRIAGE BY SARAH GEORGE, REVIEW, pounds 12.99

Design News: In bed with Charles II

n THE ONLY annoying thing about falling for a picture or an object in an art gallery is having to wait till the exhibition is over before you can buy it and take it home. The organisers of "Southern Craftmakers" understand such impatience: should you wish to purchase one of the 140 items on show you can whisk it away at the end of whatever stage the tour is on, and a similar piece will take its place.

Fashion: Everyday people

Street style in the Nineties is less about shock, more about blending in - the difference is in the tiniest details, chronicled here by photographer Henry Bond

Outtakes: Furry symbols of wealth and power, feathered accessories and four-legged friends

Animals in portraits are highly symbolic and form part of the artist's commentary on his subject, argues the chief curator of the National Portrait Gallery. Judge for yourself what the artists were saying in these paintings. Top: Anna Pavlova with Jack, by Lafayette, 1927. Above: Sir Edwin Landseer by John Ballantyne, 1865. Above right: Ellen Terry with terriers. Right: Charles II and puppy, 1630. Far right: Max Wall Maggi Hambling, 1981.

Book review: A hero in search of Trafalgar

PRINCE RUPERT: Admiral and General-at-Sea by Frank Kitson, Constable pounds 20

Education: Passed/Failed - Beryl Bainbridge

The novelist Beryl Bainbridge, 63, wrote Every Man For Himself, based on the Titanic story, which was Whitbread Novel of the Year and runner-up for the Booker Prize. She is featured on The South Bank Show on Sunday. Her novel Master Georgie is published in April.

Theatre reviews

NEVER LAND

Comfort of strangers

Again and again this week people - almost always women - have told me the same story. It is about how they felt themselves compelled to go down to Kensington Palace. Some laid flowers, one or two signed the book of condolence. They knelt down for a moment, or just stood there and had their moment of silence, talked a little with strangers doing the same thing - and then went home to their children, their pets and their husbands.

Letter: Royal rifts

Your leading article "Crisis for the church? Why?" (10 August) says "no Supreme Governor of the Church of England has been divorced, never mind remarried". Charles II was urged to divorce his wife, Catherine of Braganza, when she failed to produce an heir, and to marry again. Among those supporting this course of action was the Bishop of Chester. George I was already divorced when he acceded to the throne in 1714. Although he did not remarry, like Charles II did, he enjoyed several liaisons. George IV attempted to divorce his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, from whom he had been separated for over 20 years. He was unsuccessful, but she obliged him by dying a few months after his coronation.

Book review / Stinks, squalor and splendour

Restoration London by Liza Picard, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pounds 20

Racing: Andreyev heading towards Jersey

Andreyev will attempt to give Richards Hannon and Hughes their second Jersey Stakes win at Royal Ascot in three years after taking the Listed King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket yesterday.

words: Political

AS pre-election tempers get hotter and insults fly faster, we can expect to hear more and more politicians using one of the most insulting words they know. Political. A loyal backbencher threw it at the Opposition last week in defence of Douglas Hogg, who was in a bit of trouble over the state of our abattoirs. To attack Mr Hogg at this juncture was "blatant political opportunism", he cried. Mere opportunism, one felt, was one thing, but that sort ... To what further depths could an Opposition sink?

Johnny Foreigner

Condom was Charles II's physician and was knighted by the Merry Monarch for his services. True or false? False, sadly, although it sounds convincing. In fact, no one really knows the origin of the word condom. What we do know is that they have been in use since at least 1,350BC when Egyptian tribesmen used them not as contraceptive devices but as protection from disease, injury and insect bites. The strawberry-flavoured, anatomically shaped, lubricated, spermicidally charged condom had to wait another 3,340 years.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?