News

A Fathers4Justice campaigner has been found guilty of defacing a portrait of the Queen with purple paint while it was hanging in Westminster Abbey.

Abbey National rebuffs NatWest

The board of Abbey National rejected the idea of discussing a pounds 25bn merger with National Westminster Bank on the grounds that Abbey would be handed the unwelcome task of integrating the retail banking divisions and taking responsibility for widespread branch closures, redundancies and customer dissatisfaction. NatWest would meanwhile have the more glamorous task of creating an international mega-bank, which City wags christened Westminster Abbey.

Letter: Trollope tip for Abbey charges

Sir: An article on 21 March states that Westminster Abbey could charge visitors admission an admission fee "for the first time in its history".

Westminster Abbey could charge visitors

Westminster Abbey could introduce admission charges for the first time in its history as part of a bid to control the influx of visitors.

Church seeks future in glorious past

Celebrations planned to mark the 1,400th anniversary of St Augustine's mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity should not be seen as an "exercise in ecclesiastical nostalgia", according to the Church of England.

Obituary: Ronald Mason

May I add a footnote to John Tydeman's most evocative obituary of Ronald Mason [20 January]?, writes Merlin Holland.

Obituary: Douglas Guest

Douglas Guest will be remembered not only as a fine church musician (and one of the most handsome) but also as a great school director of music.

Midnight in the fields of war: Books

Peter Parker celebrates the centenary of Edmund Blunden's birth

Low profile for the Stone of Destiny as it takes the high road north

Hollywood would have at least ordered up a tartan blanket. Maybe over- dubbed the pibroch tones of a lone piper. But yesterday, Her Majesty's Government merely stuffed the Stone of Destiny into the back of a Range Rover and sent it north.

Stone of Scone will rest in Edinburgh

The Government unveiled plans yesterday to move the Stone of Scone north of the border to Edinburgh Castle, ending its 700-year residence at Westminster Abbey.

Letter: Choir is booked

Sir:Lord Horder (letter, 14 October) says that he has learned "indirectly" that Choral Evensong will not precede the unveiling in Westminster Abbey of a memorial to Sir John Betjeman.

Obituary : Sir Reginald Pullen

Few people can say that the main part of their life has revolved around one of the nation's greatest institutions and that the institution has benefited enormously from their contribution. Yet that surely is how history will record the life of Sir Reginald Pullen, Receiver General of Westminster Abbey from 1959 to 1987.

Obituary: Frances Lang

Frances Lang, who died last week aged 34, first appeared in the foyer of the Independent on Sunday in the winter of 1993, when she was a photography student at the Newport School of Art and Design. She held a box of colour Xeroxes of portraits of young women chefs. She had, somehow, captured the face of a new authority in commercial kitchens. Her series of photographs was published in the Sunday Review, immediately serialised in Germany and imitated in Australia and the United States.

Army divided over right to escort Stone of Scone

The Army will escort the ancient Stone of Scone back to Scotland on St Andrew's Day - 700 years after it was seized by the marauding English.

Obituary: Sir Brian Warren

Brian Warren was one of the most prominent and fashionable London general practitioners of his day. It was his wit, warmth and no-nonsense wisdom (to which as his son-in-law for 15 years, I was privy) that made him so popular a doctor among his largely well-to-do patients, many of whom also inevitably became his lifelong friends.

Secret x-ray reveals the real Stone of Scone

It's official. The people were not fooled. The Stone of Destiny, the mystical symbol of monarchical power that John Major has kindly offered to send back to its rightful owners the Scots, is the real McCoy.
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'