Iron Lady laid to resthttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/print/iron-lady-laid-to-rest/

Iron Lady laid to rest

Thatcher was given a ceremonial funeral with military honors

Margaret Thatcher,Britain’s Iron Lady,was laid to rest Wednesday with a level of pomp and protest reflecting her status as a commanding,polarising political figure.

Queen Elizabeth II,prime ministers and dignitaries from 170 countries were among the mourners at St Paul’s Cathedral,where Bishop of London Richard Chartres spoke of the strong feelings the former prime minister still evokes 23 years after leaving office.

“The storm of conflicting opinions centers on the Mrs. Thatcher who became a symbolic figure — even an -ism,’’ he said. “Today the remains of the real Margaret Hilda Thatcher are here at her funeral service. There is an important place for debating policies and legacy … but here and today is neither the time nor the place.’’

More than 700 soldiers,sailors and air force personnel lined the route taken by Thatcher’s coffin to the cathedral and around 4,000 police officers were on duty.

Advertising

Spectators lining the route broke into applause — and scattered boos — as the carriage passed by,escorted by young soldiers,sailors and airmen. Some clearly disagreed with the bishop’s exhortation to leave politics at home. Some staged silent protests by turning their backs on Thatcher’s coffin.

Guests inside the cathedral included Thatcher’s successors as prime minister — John Major,Tony Blair and David Cameron. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Vice President Dick Cheney were among the American dignitaries present.

The late leader’s 19-year-old granddaughter Amanda Thatcher read a passage from Ephesians: “Stand therefore,having your loins girt about with truth,and having on the breastplate of righteousness.’’ Before the service,Thatcher’s coffin was driven from the Houses of Parliament to the church of St Clement Danes.

Thatcher was given a ceremonial funeral with military honors — not officially a state funeral— but proceedings that featured the same level of pomp and honor afforded Princess Diana in 1997 and the Queen Mother Elizabeth in 2002. The ceremony was traditional,dignified and very British.

Prime Minister David Cameron insisted the ceremony was “a fitting tribute to a great prime minister respected around the world.’’