Margaret Thatcher getting a funeral fit for a queen
It’s an announcement that has upset some Brits who feel the former prime minister is undeserving of such an honor.
The grocer’s daughter who became Britain’s prime minister is getting a funeral fit for a queen. Margaret Thatcher, who was felled by a stroke Monday, will have her sendoff on April 17 at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Thatcher, who was 87, is getting what’s called a ceremonial funeral, complete with full military honors.
It’s a step below a state funeral, which requires a vote in Parliament. But it’s no slap at Maggie, a polarizing politician who was loved by conservatives and loathed by liberals.
Beloved Brits like Princess Diana and Queen Mother Elizabeth, who is the mother of the current Queen Elizabeth, got ceremonial funerals too.
The “Iron Lady,” as she was dubbed, will lie overnight at the Houses of Parliament before her funeral. Then her casket will be carried by a horse-drawn gun carriage to the cathedral along a route lined by military personnel.
Queen Elizabeth plans to attend the funeral with her husband, Prince Philip, her office said Tuesday.
It will be the first time the queen attends a service for a former prime minister since 1965, when Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, was buried.
World leaders are also expected to take part in the farewell. And there is likely to be a huge police presence.
Word of Thatcher’s death sparked dancing in the street by Thatcher haters and many Brits are upset that she is getting a ceremonial funeral.
“The police will be concerned that someone will try to disrupt or attack the funeral cortege to get maximum publicity for their political views,” Tom Pine, a British disaster management expert, told Bloomberg News.
Thatcher died at Hotel Ritz in London, where she had been living in a luxury suite for the last few months. Undertakers in a non-descript van removed her body from the hotel on Tuesday and drove off to an undisclosed location.
Buckingham Palace said the date for Thatcher’s funeral was picked in consultation with her children, Mark and Carol. Her beloved husband, Denis, died in 2003.
Thatcher was prime minister from 1979 to 1990. And during her tenure she remade the country by privatizing state-owned industries and imposing a brand of conservatism that came to be called Thatcherism.
But while Thatcher’s reforms are credited with revitalizing some segments of the British economy like banking, millions of working class Brits lost their manufacturing and mining jobs.
So a day after Thatcher’s death, there was praise and damnation on the front pages on the nation’s newspapers
“Rejoice” was the headline on the Socialist Worker newspaper. “The Woman Who Divided a Nation” blared the front page of The Daily Mirror.
At the other political end, The Daily Mail headline read “The woman who saved Britain” and the Financial Times called her “The great transformer.”