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.

Queen welcomes South African president Jacob Zuma to Britain

British pomp and pageantry was on full display today to greet South African President Jacob Zuma as he began a three-day state visit to Britain.

From the Queen to the Queen Vic: 'The Lady' selects its leading ladies

When Boris Johnson's sister, Rachel, assumed the editorship of The Lady promising to double the tiny circulation of the venerable publication in a year or die trying, she knew that the shock waves from her cultural revolution would get the teacups rattling in the parlours of the nation's gentlefolk.

Two-day holiday to mark Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Workers are to be given an extra bank holiday in 2012 to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it was confirmed today.

Honours List: Royal Victorian Medal

Royal servants: Sandringham driver wins royal double

Anthony Hardingham, a tractor driver on the Sandringham Estate, has now received two awards from the Queen. Mr Hardingham already holds the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver), awarded in 2004, but now holds an RVM plus bar. He is one of 38 people included in the New Year Honours List for their personal services to the Royal Family.

Now funding fears hit Army cadets

Defence funding cuts have left the Army's cadet programme facing an uncertain future as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2010, organisers have warned.

Security tight as Royals attend church service

The Queen and members of the Royal Family today attended a church service amid tight security.

The Big Moment: People were moving in a muted but purposeful way, as if answering a call

Funeral of the Queen Mother, 9 April 2002

Debate over escalating Royal costs set to come to the boil

The public funding of the Royal Family is a complex formula comprising government grants and Civil List payments agreed by Parliament.

Cunard keeps Carnival afloat

Carnival, the world's largest luxury cruise ship operator, is expected to announce buoyant full-year results on Thursday with its premium brand, Cunard, keeping its bottom line afloat.

Best biographies of 2009: All manner of conflict lurks in these sketches of larger-than-life personas from Dame Vera to Floyd

The 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War has helped along that staple of historical publishing, the "Hitler industry". Among the many books that have nourished this genre are a hefty biography of his confidant, Joseph Goebbels: A Life and Death by Toby Thacker (Palgrave Macmillan, £19.99) and an elegant and well-researched portrait of Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation by Charles Glass (HarperPress, £20), chronicling the literati and intelligentsia who stayed there against the odds.

The Weekend's Television: The Queen, Sun, Channel 4

Divorced from reality

South African president to make state visit

South African President Jacob Zuma will make a state visit to Britain in March, the Queen announced today.

Nick Clegg: Cancel the Queen's Speech – and save democracy

Nick Clegg today issues a call for this week's Queen's Speech to be scrapped and replaced by an emergency programme of reform designed to "clean up politics once and for all".

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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