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Former British PM Margaret Thatcher laid to rest

  • Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest on Wednesday in London.

    Thatcher, Britain's longest serving prime minister of the 20th century, died of a stroke on April 8 at the age of 87. The divisive leader, Britain’s first and only female prime minister to date, held office from 1979 to 1990.

    Baroness Thatcher was accorded a ceremonial funeral with military honors, one step down from a state funeral. Around 700 members of the armed forces as well as thousands of members of the public lined the streets of London as her coffin traveled on a horse-drawn carriage from a chapel in Westminster to St Paul's Cathedral.

    The funeral was attended by her family, current British PM David Cameron and all surviving British prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Sir John Major, the current cabinet and surviving members of Baroness Thatcher's governments.

    Queen Elizabeth II led more than 2,000 mourners from around the world in St Paul's Cathedral.

    Speaking at the service, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, said the point was to remember the person, not the politician. "After the storm of a life led in the heat of political controversy, there is a great calm," Bishop Chartres said.

    "The storm of conflicting opinions centres on the Mrs. Thatcher who became a symbolic figure - even an -ism. 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, for assessing the impact of political decisions on the everyday lives of individuals and communities,” he continued.

    Some 4,000 police officers were on duty in the capital over concerns about protests. However, only a small number of demonstrators voiced their opposition to Lady Thatcher's policies. No arrests were made.

    Tagged as: Margaret Thatcher, Former British PM, longest serving prime minister, Iron lady