A PAGE OF INK doodles by the late US president Ronald Reagan was among 35,000 personal papers of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher being released by the Thatcher Archive at Cambridge University.
The sketches were drawn during a G7 summit in Ottawa, Canada in 1981, after which Thatcher appears to have taken the sheet as a keepsake:
(AP Photo/The Thatcher Archive)
The Thatcher papers from 1981 released today suggest that this was her toughest year as prime minister as Britain struggled with rising unemployment and the economy, while she fought divisions within her party.
Thatcher wrote to thank a person who had sent a gift of a cashmere rug, saying that it had come “at a difficult time just when I needed a little thoughtfulness and kindliness”.
“This task, to which I have set my hand is the most absorbing and fascinating in the world,” she wrote. “But sometimes it is lonely as one struggles to take the right decision.”
The papers carry other suggestions of Thatcher’s sensitive side, including a letter she wrote in response to a young girl who had written to the leader in distress over the girl’s parents’ divorce. She expressed regret that she could not help the girl with the situation, and suggested the girl meet with her in London.
Historian Chris Collins of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation said that the former prime minister received about 3,000 letters a week between 1979 and 1990 and that she answered many of those personally.
Cambridge is opening the papers to the public from Monday.
- Additional reporting by the AP