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.

Silence marks passing of WWI generation

The nation fell silent on Armistice Day as the passing of the First World War generation was marked at a moving memorial service today.

Fit for a Princess: The Hardy Amies exhibition

The archive of the Savile Row designer, which includes unseen photos of the Royal Family, is to be shown to the public for the first time

Sissinghurst, By Adam Nicholson

As a townie, I'm a sucker for romantic depictions of the countryside such as this one. Especially with the added attraction of not only a historic country house (its original owner was chosen by Queen Elizabeth I to give the news of her execution to Mary, Queen of Scots), but also a literary connection – Nicholson's grandmother is the writer Vita Sackville-West, who bought Sissinghurst when she lost her own family seat, Knole.

Bermuda visit for the Queen

The Queen will visit Bermuda to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the island's settlement, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, By William Shawcross

On 7 July 1959, Isaiah Berlin described a dinner party with Maria Callas and the Queen Mother. "I thought the QM not indeed particularly intelligent nor even terribly nice," he wrote, "but a very strong personality – much stronger than I thought her – and filled with the possibility of unexpected answers."

Boyd Tonkin: Swansongs for a poet and a queen

The Week In Books

Queen Mother backed Thatcher honour

The Queen and Margaret Thatcher never really hit it off. Of all the prime ministers for whom the Queen held an audience, Mrs Thatcher was notoriously one of those she liked the least.

Queen Mother's letter in full

Here is the full text of the Queen Mother's letter:

My darling Mama,

I hardly know how to begin to tell you of the horrible attack on Buckingham Palace this morning.

Last Night's Television: Manson, FIVE<br />On Tour With The Queen, Channel 4

Forty years ago this week, Los Angeles was reeling in the wake of a crime horrifying even by the standards of that blood-splattered metropolis. Three months later, the murderers of seven people including actress Sharon Tate, the heavily pregnant 26-year-old wife of director Roman Polanski, were identified as acolytes of the sociopathic Charles Manson, members of his so-called Family, who had been acting on his addled orders with the intention of kindling a race war between blacks and whites, to which he, influenced by the Beatles, called Helter Skelter.

The return of the debutante

After 12 years' absence, the traditional 'coming out' ceremony for the young and privileged is back. Jerome Taylor meets the young women who <I>will</I> go to the ball

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, Jazz Café, London

Joe Lewis is much smaller, more wiry and slippery than his near-namesake, America's iconic heavyweight champ. You can bet the man who was itching to call his first album Nat Turner, after the feared leader of a US slave revolt in 1831, knows tall about Louis. Growing up in a Texas small town, MC Hammer claimed the 28-year-old's affections long before his current heroes James Brown and Lightnin' Hopkins. But the grit of Southern life at ground level hasn't changed too much, and he sings his take on 1960s soul with casual conviction.

Carol Ann Duffy : 'I was told to get a proper job'

She's the first female poet laureate and a set-text fixture, but, says Carol Ann Duffy, life hasn't really changed all that much

Queen to request &#163;7m more from the Civil List

Royal expenditure increased to record &pound;41.5m last year

Royal family costs each taxpayer 69p a year

The Queen and the Royal Family cost the taxpayer 69p per person last year - an increase of 3p, Buckingham Palace accounts showed today.

'This is where all my mates are'

On the eve of the D-Day anniversary, John Lichfield joined the 500 veterans who returned to Sword Beach to remember the soldiers who didn't come back
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas