Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has died “peacefully” at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke while staying at the Ritz hotel in central London. David Cameron called her a “great Briton” and the Queen spoke of her sadness at the death. Lady Thatcher was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990. She was the first woman to hold the role.
She will not have a state funeral but will be accorded the same status as Princess Diana and the Queen Mother. The ceremony, with full military honours, will take place at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral. The union jack above Number 10 Downing Street has been lowered to half-mast while Parliament will be recalled from its Easter recess on Wednesday to enable MPs to pay tributes to the former prime minister.
Margaret Thatcher, who died following a stroke earlier today, was one of the most influential political figures of the 20th Century. Her legacy had a profound effect upon the policies of her successors, both Conservative and Labour, while her radical and sometimes confrontational approach defined her 11-year period at No 10.
Her term in office saw thousands of ordinary voters gaining a stake in society, buying their council houses and eagerly snapping up shares in the newly privatised industries such as British Gas and BT. But her rejection of consensus politics made her a divisive figure and opposition to her policies and her style of government led eventually to rebellion inside her party and unrest on the streets.
The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty. America has lost a true friend
- US President Barack Obama
I would never forget her part in surmounting the division of Europe and at the end of the Cold War
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds. The real thing is she didn’t just lead our country; she saved our country. I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister.
- UK Prime Minister David Cameron
The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.
- Buckingham Palace
Lady Thatcher was born Margaret Roberts, the daughter of a shopkeeper and Conservative councillor in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in 1925. She studied chemistry at Oxford University and worked for a plastics company before marrying businessman Denis Thatcher in 1951. She gave birth to twins Mark and Carol in 1953, the year she also qualified as a barrister, and served as MP for Finchley, north London, from 1959 to 1992. Having been education secretary, she successfully challenged former prime minister Edward Heath for her party’s leadership in 1975 and won general elections in 1979, 1983 and 1987.