Britain Says Goodbye to Former PM Thatcher
Britain Holds Funeral for Former PM Thatcher
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II and dignitaries from around the world attended the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in London. Thatcher, 87, died last week.
Her casket was carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage through the center of London, as people crowded the sidewalks to pay their respects.
It was escorted by military units, and all along the route security was even tighter than originally planned because of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
There were some protests, but there were no serious incidents.
Military personnel carry the coffin of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher into St Paul's Cathedral, for her funeral service, in London April 17, 2013.
Crowds gather to observe the funeral procession of former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, as it travels along Ludgate Hill to her funeral service at St Paul's Cathedral, in London April 17, 2013.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, center left, and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrive for the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, outside St. Paul's Cathedral, central London, Wednesday, April 17, 2013.
The funeral procession of former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, travels along Ludgate Hill to her funeral service at St Paul's Cathedral. The coffin was borne on a Gun Carriage drawn by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
The coffin containing the body of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher leaves the ceremonial funeral at St Paul's Cathedral in London. World leaders and dignitaries from 170 countries were in attendance.
Carol Thatcher watches as the hearse carrying her mother, former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, is driven away after her funeral service at St Paul's Cathedral.
Members of Margaret Thatcher's family from left, daughter Carol Thatcher and partner Marco Grass, Sarah Thatcher, wife of son Mark Thatcher, and grandchildren Michael and Amanda Thatcher after the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
A protester holds a placard during a party to mark former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death in central London's Trafalgar square, April 13, 2013.
People celebrate during a party to mark the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in central London's Trafalgar square, April 13, 2013.
A British police officer performs security checks with a sniffer dog ahead of the ceremonial funeral procession for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in London, April 17, 2013.
Thatcher's most strident critics had long vowed to hold a gathering in central London on the Saturday following her passing, and the festivities were an indication of the depth of the hatred which some Britons still feel for their former leader.
Inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the casket lay in front of more than 2,000 mourners. The current Prime Minister David Cameron was there, as were leaders and former leaders from around the world. But there was no official from Argentina, which Thatcher defeated in the 1982 Falkland Islands War.
It was a prayer service, with no formal eulogy. But the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, gave a brief address, saying, "After the storm of a life lived in the heat of political controversy, there is a great calm. ... Lying here, she is one of us, subject to the common destiny of all human beings.”
Margaret Thatcher was Britain’s only female prime minister, and the longest serving of the 20th Century, holding the office for 11 years. Her passionately conservative policies transformed the country, and ignited strong emotions both in favor and opposed, feelings that have been on display again during the past week, even though she left office 23 years ago.
And that, in the end, is testament to the impact of her life.
Video: Al Pessin's On The Scene report from Thatcher funeral in London