Life and Style

First of all, a caveat: the clothes we see in 16th-century portraits aren't fashion. At least, not to our eyes. They're court costume – emphasis on the costume. It's difficult to reconcile the lavishly slashed, brocaded and jewel-bedecked gowns of lustrous Renaissance portraiture with our jeans-and-T-shirt culture, or even with the grander creations on the international catwalks.

Diary: Piers: I'm through with Hugh

As a one-time golfing chum of Hugh Grant, the celebrated swordsman and saviour of celebrity privacy, I was naturally overjoyed to hear him phoning this very office to speak with our honoured guest, the Radio 5 Live presenter Richard Bacon, during his broadcast from The Independent this week.

Queen visits Croke Park stadium

The Queen took centre stage at Dublin's iconic Croke Park gaelic football and hurling stadium today in a historic new act of Anglo-Irish reconciliation.

Mary Ann Sieghart: Long live the king – if he's harmless

If Charles doesn't wind his neck in, the public won't put up with him. The institution is only there by public consent

Paul Vallely: The monarchy moves in mysterious ways

In enjoying the royal wedding, secretly or overtly, we were honouring a cornerstone of our national identity

The state of the nation, 2011

So what, exactly, does the royal wedding tell us about modern Britain, the monarchy and us? Cole Moreton joins the celebrating hordes to find out

Royal succession changes 'will take time'

It will "take some time" to change royal succession rules to allow a first-born daughter to take the throne, Prime Minister David Cameron cautioned today.

Lost choral masterpiece finally finds a home... in the pop charts

Alessandro Striggio's 1566 mass, performed by 40 choristers, sees voices, strings and brass meld into a jaw-dropping harmony.

Queen to make first state visit to Irish Republic

The Queen is to pay a state visit to the Irish Republic this year, the first by a British monarch since independence in 1922, it was announced yesterday.

Queen's head saved from the chop

The presence of the Queen's head on postage stamps is to be guaranteed by law after the Government struck a deal with Buckingham Palace.

Lucy Porter: Enough of all these rewards. Let's have a 'dishonours list'

It's pretty embarrassing to admit, but whenever I read the New Year Honours list, there's always a part of me that hopes that – due to a massive clerical cock-up – my name will somehow appear.

Queen's Christmas message to highlight sport

The Queen's Christmas message to the nation will highlight the importance of sport as a medium that can help build communities and create harmony.

Tom Sutcliffe: If anyone 'owns' the Queen's head, it's us

Social Studies: Why is the Queen permitting her image to be included as a sweetener to a deal so broadly unpopular with her subjects?

Minister 'confident' on royal stamp

A business minister said he was "extremely confident" the Queen's head would remain on postage stamps even if the Royal Mail was sold off to a foreign firm.

'Sad' day as Ark Royal returns home for the final time

The commanding officer of HMS Ark Royal said it was a "sad" day today as the aircraft carrier returned to its home port for the final time.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor