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.

Ministers and monarchy pass buck on 'non-doms'

Ministers were at loggerheads with Buckingham Palace last night over who had the responsibility to strip "non-dom" peers of their titles.

Celebrations on ice as monarch faces Diamond Jubilee in the red

The Queen is down to her last £1m and will go into the red in the year of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, figures released by Buckingham Palace reveal.

Soldier dies from Afghan blast injuries

A British solider has died from injuries sustained in an explosion in Afghanistan earlier this month, the Ministry of Defence said.

Taxpayer funding for Queen's household to remain at £7.9m

Funding for the Queen's household by the taxpayer through the Civil List will remain frozen at £7.9 million for the coming year, Chancellor George Osborne announced today.

Trooping the Colour marks the Queen's official birthday

The Queen celebrated her official birthday yesterday with the Trooping the Colour parade. The Colour being paraded was the flag of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who returned from Afghanistan six weeks ago.

Mary Stuart, Grand Theatre, Leeds<br/>Armida, Garsington, Oxford

Mary, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I's costumes could have sprung from the sketchbooks of Balmain or Lacroix

Fourteen pupils hurt in school bus crash

Fourteen children were taken to hospital after their coach crashed on a roundabout near Folkestone during a school trip.

Schoolchildren hurt as bus hits roundabout

Twelve schoolchildren were taken to hospital today after their coach ended up on a roundabout as they headed on a seaside day-trip.

BBC DJ Danny Kelly suspended for Queen death joke

A BBC radio DJ who joked during a live broadcast that the Queen had died has been taken off air for a week, a spokesman said today.

Goodbye from him: Brown moves out of Number 10

With his wife Sarah by his side, Gordon Brown paid an emotional farewell to Downing Street after almost three turbulent years as Prime Minister.

The Sketch: Then came Cameron. And the amateurs had won after all

"It is a new evening, is it not?" To paraphrase Tony Blair. Last night, after Gordon Brown's resignation, we saw David Cameron driving to the Palace straight into a meteorological metaphor. After a long, patchy afternoon and a dull evening, the sun suddenly came out in that way it can, and flooded the scene from behind. A rainbow appeared.

Leading article: Family values

You know the problem. The relatives who want a home. The troubles with the builders. The grandchildren demanding expensive accommodation for their college years. What to do with the empty flat when a relative dies...

Smash-and-grab raid at Queen's silversmith

A gang of smash-and-grab robbers raided a landmark branch of the Queen's silversmith today.

The Virgin Queen, the serpent and the doctored portrait

Artist painted Elizabeth I holding a snake &ndash; then lost his nerve

Zuma visit: 'Thanks for the show, cultural imperialists!'

South African President accuses Britain of anti-Zulu 'snobbery'
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there