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Thatcher's funeral to have twice as many security staff as mourners

2,300 people will attend the ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral, with 4,000 police officers and 700 military personnel on duty.

Margaret Thatcher's coffin rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament in central London overnight.
Margaret Thatcher's coffin rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament in central London overnight.
Image: Leon Neal/PA Wire

MILITARY AND POLICE figures will outnumber mourners by two-to-one when a ceremonial funeral is held for Margaret Thatcher later today.

The former British prime minister will be cremated after the invitation-only ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral, which will be attended by the Queen and Prince Philip.

2,300 people have been invited to the event, which will be guarded by 4,000 police officers and 700 soldiers, sailors and RAF personnel.

Thatcher’s coffin lay overnight at a chapel in the Palace of Westminster, home of the Houses of Parliament, and will this morning be brought in a hearse to the church of St Clement Danes in the centre of the city.

From there she will be brought in a horse-drawn carriage to St Paul’s for the final service, after which she will be cremated.

Among those due to attend are former US vice president Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Education minister Ruairí Quinn is attending on behalf of the Government of Ireland.

However, many other figures – including former US first lady Nancy Reagan, whose husband Ronald had a close working relationship with Thatcher – are unable to attend. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is also too unwell to travel.

Nobody from the Bush or Clinton families will be in attendance, while Argentina is not even sending its London-based ambassador – a symptom of lingering antipathy between the two countries over Thatcher’s role ordering a war against Argentina over control of the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Parliamentary business is being suspended today, while Big Ben is being silenced for the duration of the proceedings. Prime minister David Cameron will be among those offering readings at the funeral.

Scotland Yard said it was prepared for a “small number of people” planning peaceful protests at the funeral.

Read: Thatcher supporters set up camp ahead of funeral

More: Boston Marathon blasts put world’s cities on alert

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Gavan Reilly

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