Queen to attend Thatcher funeral next weekhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/queen-to-attend-thatcher-funeral-next-week/

Queen to attend Thatcher funeral next week

Service on April 17,Baroness to receive full military honours

The funeral of ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will be held on April 17,the UK government announced Tuesday,while undertakers removed the body of the Iron Lady from the Ritz Hotel,where she died of a stroke at the age of 87.

Buckingham Palace Tuesday said Queen Elizabeth II would join hundreds of dignitaries at the service on April 17 — the first time she will be attending the funeral of a former PM since Churchill’s death in 1965.

A private ambulance was seen taking away the coffin of Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister from the hotel in central London after midnight Tuesday.

Newspapers here highlighted how she died without her two children,Carol and Mark,by her bedside. She had been ill since Christmas,and died Monday in the presence of her doctor and carer.

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It had been reported in January that the former Prime Minister had decided to recuperate from a bladder surgery in a suite at the five-star landmark in Piccadilly,rather than endure the stairs of her Belgravia townhouse.

Both Houses of Parliament have been recalled following the news of her death and will debate the legacy of the Conservative party leader who was in charge of the country between 1979 and 1990 — the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th century.

Meanwhile,preparations for her funeral are underway in accordance with the wishes of the “frugal” leader. It has been confirmed that Baroness Thatcher will be given a televised ceremonial funeral next week at St Paul’s Cathedral with full military honours.

“She specifically did not want a state funeral and nor did her family. She particularly did not wish to lie in state as she thought that was not appropriate. And she didn’t want a fly-past as she thought that was a waste of money – somewhat in character you might think. She expressed those views to me personally and she will get what she wanted,” said her friend and spokesperson Lord Tim Bell.

The last non-royal honoured with a state funeral in Britain was the country’s war-time PM Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

Ceremonial funerals have in the past been given to the Queen Mother — the mother of current monarch Queen Elizabeth II who died in 2002 — and Princess Diana,who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Thatcher had unique effect on UK politics: Vaz

London: Former Premier Margaret Thatcher made a unique and lasting impression on modern British politics,Indian-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz said Tuesday. Noting that she was the first British PM he questioned in Parliament,Vaz,Chairman of the Home Affairs committee said,“She was an iconic female leader..” PTI