MARGARET THATCHER is to be given a ceremonial funeral with full military honours.
The United Kingdom’s first female prime minister, who died yesterday aged 87, will be given a funeral equivalent to those given to Princess Diana in 1997 and the Queen Mother in 2002.
The funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral in London will be preceded by a funeral procession from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Houses of Parliament.
The ceremonial funeral has been approved by the Queen, whose consent is required for a ceremonial funeral with military honours. The Queen and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be in attendance.
The ceremony will take place next Wednesday, April 17, and will be televised but not opened to the public.
Following Thatcher’s own wishes, her body will not lie in state. She had also been opposed to a state funeral, though it is not clear whether Thatcher would have been afforded one anyway.
The last state funeral held in Britain was that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, when the wartime leader lay in state. Thatcher believed herself to be inferior to Churchill and did not want to be equated with him in deaths.
The Guardian this afternoon reports that Thatcher feared a ‘divisive debate’ in Parliament about whether to offer her a state funeral – a fear which encouraged her to veto the prospect of one being sought.
It is also thought that Thatcher stated her preference for there not to be an RAF fly-past, allegedly because she did not want taxpayers’ money to be spent on it.
Thatcher’s remains will be cremated in a private ceremony after her funeral.
The question of a state funeral has divided Britain, with some – including the Daily Mail newspaper – organising petitions and campaigns for a full state funeral, while on Twitter the hashtag ‘#nostatefuneral’ trended quickly after news of her death was revealed.
More on the death of Margaret Thatcher:
- Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher dies at 87
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- In pics: Margaret Thatcher and Ireland
- 6 key moments that defined Margaret Thatcher’s relationship with Ireland
- President Higgins: Thatcher’s legacy will be debated for many years
- Gerry Adams has harsh words for Margaret Thatcher
- Ireland’s statements muted as global tributes pour in for Thatcher
- “First lady of girl power”: Thatcher’s death – the Twitter reaction