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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone