So near and yet so far, Britain’s Olympic sailing supremo Sir Ben Ainslie, four golds and a silver, had to give best to the first Italian winner of the Argo Group Gold Cup, winner of the penultimate Alpari World Match Racing Tour grand prix, Francesco Bruni.

Racing: Four square up to Zafonic

ZAFONIC will face no more than four opponents in Tuesday's St James's Palace Stakes, the feature race on Royal Ascot's opening day - and one of those will be his pacemaker, Wharf.

BOOK REVIEW / Shrinking the crowned heads of Windsor: 'Inheritance: A Psychological History of the Royal Family' - Dennis Friedman & Susan Hill: Sidgwick, 14.99

NOT A bad idea, 'a psychological history of the royal family'. Most studies of psychological inheritance are handicapped by a shortage of information after two or three generations, but the royal family offers rich biographical material at every stage.

Yacht club celebrates return voyage: Royal Corinthian has gone back to its spiritual home on the Solent. Stuart Alexander reports

A regimental band will be playing, the flags flying and the commodore will be in his forecastle this afternoon in Cowes when the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club re-hoists its ensign and burgee.

Rugby Union: The holders survive early scare: Welsh sides at the forefront of annual extravaganza at Rosslyn Park

ROSSLYN PARK may be destined for the Third Division, but rest assured their name will not be forgotten. Each year at Roehampton the club treats us to a springtime of rugby genius, the National Schools Sevens continuing to blossom and this time laying on over 600 matches spread across four days.

Gardening: A root-and-blanch operation: You need patience, energy and good soil to grow celeriac. But it is worth all the trouble, says Anna Pavord

RETRIBUTION stalks the vegetable patch. I was too proud of my parsnips last season. This year there are none despite my lavishing upon the seed all the little comforts that a parsnip could desire. Hubris reaps its just reward.

Princess ill

Princess Margaret has been admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. The princess, 62, was taken to the King Edward VII Hospital in central London on Sunday.

Letter: Royal prayers of the Indian Army

Sir: Let's not forget the Indians. In 1902, Edward VII was taken ill just before his coronation, which had to be postponed from 24 June to 9 August. On hearing the news of the King Emperor's illness, the representatives of the Indian Army for the coronation, attending the Bishop of London's reception at Fulham Palace, lifted their hands and said, 'We go to pray.' With their carpets spread before them, they prayed for the King for an hour and a half in the field opposite the palace.

Libel case may mean Princess appears in court

LIBEL PROCEEDINGS begun by Major James Hewitt, a friend of the Princess of Wales, over what he claims are 'scandalous false allegations' about their relationship, raise the possibility that the Princess of Wales may be called as a witness, and subjected to public cross-examination.

Notebook: Cold comfort for the Balmoral majority: On Royal Deeside there's not much to laugh at - or even wave at. The locals feel sorry for the visitors in the castle

I HAVE been observing the royal summer at Balmoral in its second dismal week. Since almost the beginning of Victoria's reign, the 50,000 acres of Scottish Highland forest, water and greensward, have offered a retreat from maddening repetitions of the National Anthem; a place where members of the Royal Family might climb crags, kill wild animals and play golf, deaf alike to the prayers of friends and the menaces of foes. But last week, as low clouds emptied, the royal lair presented a picture of lassitude.
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