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.

Ellie Levenson: I hang on the Queen's every word

Will my predictions for what Her Majesty says come true?

Last Night's Television: Outnumbered<br />BBC2, Beehive, E4

If you want to understand why Outnumbered is so good, the fade-to-blacks are important. This device – a little dip into nothingness between scenes – is hardly a new bit of television grammar and is not exactly unprecedented in comedy. But it's a crucial marker of species identity nonetheless. First of all, it hints at a kinship with documentary, the genus from which this distinctive feature was inherited, and where it can still regularly be seen, marking a self-consciously solemn reflectiveness. Second, it throws into particular relief what the comedy does not depend on, which is the rimshot punchline and the collective belly laugh. It isn't immediately obvious what we're meant to do in those little interludes of vacancy, but roar with laughter is definitely not one of them. They're a little space in which we can chuckle quietly and murmur the word "true" to ourselves.

Queen leads nation in act of Remembrance

The Queen led the nation in acknowledging the sacrifice made by Britain's war dead at today's Remembrance Sunday ceremony.

MPs urge the Queen to cut her costs

MPs have called on the Queen to live according to her means after an investigation by The Independent revealed that Buckingham Palace was facing a cash crisis over the costs of her staff and palaces.

Fleur Adcock: Noises Off

In 2009, Andrew Motion's 10-year stint is up and the quest for the next composer of poems for state occasions and royal birthdays is on. But who would want to do it?

Fit for the Queen: Elizabeth II is Dolce & Gabbana's muse this season

In Milan six months ago when Dolce & Gabbana's D&G collection was first shown, the surprise – and even confusion – of this influential Italian label's following was almost palpable. In place of riotous floral and animal prints, hour-glass corsetry and itsy-bitsy skirts came Argyle knits, oversized kilts that fall to mid-calf, printed silk headscarves and sensible footwear. Such things are relative, of course. Knee-high boots in orange patent leather with a chunky gold heel may not be the average librarian's accessory of choice but you can actually walk in them – even stride. What more could anyone ask for?

Michael Brown: Pity the Queen with a new PM

By polling day, she could have endured four prime ministers since the last election (three unelected)

The RAF, still flying high after 90 years

The world's oldest First World War veteran yesterday took pride of place beside the Queen to watch a spectacular flypast of 90 aircraft – one for each year of the RAF's history – at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Tanya Gold: Why Wallis Simpson should get her blue plaque

People hated her because she refused to conform to our grotesque 1930s society

Love story: Jan Morris - Divorce, the death of a child and a sex change... but still together

Nearly 60 years ago, the writer James Morris married Elizabeth Tuckniss. Their relationship endured divorce, the death of a child &ndash; and his sex change. Now they have cemented their partnership with a civil union

My secret life: Poly Styrene, Singer, 51

The house I grew up in... was a white-fronted, Grade II-listed council house in a mixed part of Brixton, but I still felt the racial tension. Once I was hit over the head with a cricket bat, it was just that kind of area. Even if you were Italian, you were a "wog".

Queen laughs at PM's 'wrong turn'

Remarks by the Queen, in which she appeared to mock Gordon Brown, were picked up by microphones after he seemed to get lost during a state banquet at Windsor Castle.

Teenagers face citizenship ceremonies

Wide-ranging recommendations to strengthen the significance of British citizenship will be published today.

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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
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
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