News / Europe

Britain Says Goodbye to Former PM Thatcher

Britain Holds Funeral for Former PM Thatcheri
April 17, 2013 2:41 PM
Queen Elizabeth and dignitaries from around the world attended the funeral Wednesday of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in London. Thatcher died last week at age 87. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Britain Holds Funeral for Former PM Thatcher
Al Pessin
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

Al Pessin's On The Scene report from Margaret Thatcher's funeral in Londoni
April 17, 2013 10:39 AM
It's a typically grey London morning and security is tight. Much of it was planned well in advance but it was enhanced after the Boston Marathon bombings. The procession will pass along here, towards St. Paul's Cathedral. Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip will be there, along with dignitaries from around the world. Mrs. Thatcher has been out of office for 23 years but her death rekindled old arguments and old emotions about the impact of her passionately conservative policies. A series protest is continuing today. Al Pessin, VOA News, London.

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Comment Sorting
by: Conrad Cathal Murray from: Ludlow
April 17, 2013 11:26 AM
She was a thoroughly evil person who caused misery to massive numbers of people in our country. She created the "me first" society where greed was deemed to be good. As your great JK Galbraith said "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
In Response

April 17, 2013 3:02 PM
Selfishness does not require justification, it's a virtue. It is irrational to think for someone else before oneself first and foremost and it is more irrational to sacrifice oneself for the "well-being" of another if that person does not hold value to that person. She reminded the English why they are different then the new socialist principles that are in practice everywhere nowadays, particularly the distasteful actions of the European Union that STEALS from those who save their earned money.
I hope England separates from the EU soon so it can save itself.. and oh yeah, act "Selfishly"

by: Van from: VN
April 17, 2013 10:40 AM
She was born and she has gone forever.
She is the lady who makes the Britain with their pound are British character.
With the candles of my heart , good bye The Lady Margaret Thatcher.

by: Michael from: USA
April 17, 2013 9:52 AM
Thatcher never allowed the Jew-minded (not said as an insult or hate) politicians in her country get the upper hand

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