Arts and Entertainment Showbiz royalty: Helen Mirren is ready to bring her Elizabeth II from cinema to stage

Actress Dame Helen Mirren has still not forgotten Michael Parkinson's line of questioning when he interviewed her on his chat show almost 40 years ago.

Dance Reviews: Wherefore art thou, Juliet? At Hammersmith, Romeo

Romeo and Juliet, Royal Ballet

Queen Mother's 97th birthday is a family affair

The Queen Mother celebrated her 97th birthday yesterday by going on an impromptu walkabout among a crowd of more than 1,000 well-wishers, some of whom had camped overnight at Clarence House.

Racing: Strong Papin party

Six British-trained juveniles are among the 11 acceptors for the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte on Saturday. The Group Two event, the most important race for two-year-olds run in France so far this season, has attracted Clive Brittain's Greenlander, Mark Johnston's Atlantic Viking, Brian Meehan's Dernier Croise, Paul Cole's Bodyguard, Godolphin's Asfurah and Simon Dow's Aurigny.

Not the best time to have a birthday

You don't get to choose your birthday, otherwise I guess the Royal Ballet School would have opted for another time - any other time - to celebrate its 50th. What with its parent company in the artistic doldrums, moving house, planning next week's closing-down party and dashing round and round Hammersmith flyover trailing balloons in an ill-conceived publicity stunt, it was a rum week to be having a gala.

Covent Garden plans people's opera

Under pressure from the Government to become "the people's opera house" Covent Garden executives are working on plans for Sunday opera and ballet performances.

Peter Pan and the princess

Sir James "JM" Barrie, author of Peter Pan, was revealed yesterday to have undertaken an unusual royal collaboration.

I'm not at liberty to divulge a word, of course, but...

The Agreeable World of Wallace Arnold

A man you can count on

The perfect man exists - and he's for hire. James Sherwood on a new professional 'walking' service

Thatcher toasts Dame Vera's 80th birthday

The belle of the Allied Forces in the Second World War, Dame Vera Lynn, celebrated her 80th birthday last night.

The princess and the pique

Susan Jeffreys wonders why an acid-tongued royal does her duty with so little grace

IN BRIEF: Books

Princess Margaret, A Biography by Theo Aronson (Michael O'Mara Books, pounds 16.99). It's such a strange tone, the one you get in these pulpy unauthorised biographies: the tongue dripping with honey on the outside, forked like a viper's within. "Although this book is in no way authorised or sanctioned," Aronson begins, "my chief thanks are to its subject, Princess Margaret." He has, apparently, been granted an audience with her while working on earlier projects, and is enduringly "grateful to HRH". Ugh. But we can be sure she'll be having him round for tea directly once she has read his findings on how she chatted up Mick Jagger -"wearing a low- cut gown that revealed ample cleavage". It's all considerably closer to Sylvie Krin of Private Eye fame than to Ben Pimlott's recent scholarly book on the Queen.

Obituary: Princess Margaret of Hesse and the Rhine

Few Englishwomen have adapted so well to German life or played such a prominent part in it as Princess Margaret of Hesse and the Rhine.

Keeping the royal hangers-on afloat

If Margaret and co can't make do on their own, the Queen should pay for them herself

Elizabeth's naughty little sister

The Establishment closed ranks in an attempt to stop the making of a television documentary about the life of Princess Margaret, which will be shown on Tuesday, according to the programme makers, writes Michael Streeter.

Salmonella closes ward

A hospital's special care baby unit has been closed to further admissions after the isolation of salmonella bacteria from two babies.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee