World leaders pay tribute to ex British PM Margaret Thatcher

  • World leaders have paid tribute to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who died at the age of 87 on Monday.

    Baroness Thatcher, known as the Iron Lady, was Britain first female prime minister and also the country’s longest serving leader.

    Current British PM David Cameron described her as a "great Briton".

    After cutting short a trip to Europe to return to London, Cameron acknowledged that she had "divided opinion", adding she had "taken a country that was on its knees and made it stand tall again.

    "Margaret Thatcher loved this country and served it with all she had," he said. "For that she has her well-earned place in history, and the enduring respect and gratitude of the British people."

    Meanwhile U.S. President Barack Obama called her a "great champion of freedom and liberty", saying that "America has lost a true friend".

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would "never forget her part in surmounting the division of Europe and at the end of the Cold War".

    Thatcher died "peacefully" after suffering a stroke while staying at London’s Ritz hotel.

    Though Thatcher will not have a state funeral, she will be given the same status as Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

    Her funeral is to be held next week at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

    Lady Thatcher was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and led the country across three terms.

    Her government privatized state-owned industries and was embroiled in a stand-off with unions during the Miners' Strike of 1984-85.

    She was also in power when the UK fought a war following Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.

    Born Margaret Roberts, the daughter of a shopkeeper and Conservative councillor in the county of Lincolnshire, in 1925, she first became a Member of Parliament in 1959.

    Having held the post of education secretary, she challenged former PM Edward Heath for her party's leadership in 1975 and went on to win the general elections in 1979, 1983 and 1987.

    Thatcher stood down in 1990 after she was defeated by Michael Heseltine.

    Know about the birth place, constituency and other important facts about Margaret, visit PM Margaret Thatcher Dead

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