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Harriet Walker: I've ended up living like a deposed Royal

My life so far in a plaster cast reminds me of Sue Townsend's brilliant The Queen and I, a superb work of comic genius in which the Royal family are booted out of Buckingham Palace to live on a council estate by the newly elected Republican party.

Montserrat Figueras: Soprano celebrated for her mastery of pre-Baroque music

One evening in 1988 my girlfriend and I were driving home from work when one of the most exquisite sounds I had heard emerged from the car radio.

Early Music: A Very Short Introduction, By Thomas Forrest Kelly

A perfectly pitched audio guide

Album: Kaiser Chiefs, The Future is Medieval (Fiction)

With their fourth effort, Kaiser Chiefs are pioneering the music industry's latest attempt to revive the CD as a physical product: from a longlist of 20 songs on their website, you can choose your own tracklist and pick your own artwork.

The Forty Rules of Love, By Elif Shafak

Skittish and serious, satirical and otherworldly, Elif Shafak's fiction trips across the lines between the spirit and the flesh. Her latest novel, a chart-topper in her native Turkey, characteristically yokes together far-flung people, eras and events.

Medieval jewels found in garden

A trove of medieval jewellery and other precious objects found by an Austrian man working in his back garden includes pieces made for a royal court and could be worth as much as €100,000 (£69,000).

Your Highness (15)

Starring: James Franco, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman, Toby Jones

The Colosseum, By Keith Hopkins & Mary Beard

Though it is "the most famous, and instantly recognisable, monument to have survived from the classical world", the authors of this excellent history concede that the Colosseum can be disappointing. "Any visitor will almost certainly be amazed by the overpowering bulk of the outside walls," but inside "they are confronted by...a jumble of dilapidated stone and rubble."

Video: Putin: 'Air strikes are like crusades'

Russian PM gives his views on the air strikes in Libya, likening them to 'medieval calls for crusades.'

Ironclad (15)

The Magnificent Seven, in chainmail. Jonathan English's action movie takes history as its base metal – the siege of Rochester Castle by King John in 1215 – and forges it into the cold steel of Medieval derring-do. Once you get past sniggering at Paul Giamatti as John, it's a pretty enjoyable face-off between the king's mercenary army and a rag-tag band of patriots led by James Purefoy's self-denying Templar knight and Brian Cox's lusty Baron. The trimmings are standard-issue: full-throated Middle Ages cackling, gnarled peasant faces straight out of Brueghel and lots of ferocious hand-to-hand combat with pluming fountains of blood. But it's a persuasive portrayal of a violent era and its harsh privations.

The Fallen Blade, By Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Medieval mystery makes the cut

Original 14th-century King Arthur tale sells for £2.4m

An illuminated 14th-century manuscript containing what is believed to be the oldest surviving account of the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the round table was sold for £2.39m yesterday.

14th-century King Arthur manuscript sold for £2.4m

An illuminated 14th century manuscript containing what is believed to be the oldest surviving account of the legends of King Arthur sold today for more than £2 million.

Minor British Institutions: The Oddfellows

The people who call themselves oddfellows are members of various friendly societies, but not all friendly societies call themselves oddfellows.

Michael McCarthy: Why let the facts get in the way when your profits are at stake?

Watching a grown man in a powerful position display his ignorance is fascinating, almost like watching a car crash in slow motion; and so it is with Michael O'Leary on climate change.

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Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
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Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
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Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
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Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?