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Thatcher to be given ceremonial funeral with military honours

The honours afforded to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral will be equivalent to those given to the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.

A staff member lays a flower in front of a wax statue of Margaret Thatcher at an exhibition center in Shenzhen, China, following Thatcher's death yesterday.
A staff member lays a flower in front of a wax statue of Margaret Thatcher at an exhibition center in Shenzhen, China, following Thatcher's death yesterday.
Image: Kin Cheung/AP

Updated, 12:50

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.

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