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.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs