Britain bids farewell to the Iron Lady

Britain bids farewell to the Iron Lady
London:  She ruled Britain for 11 years and many believe changed the country forever. Today Britain bid adieu to its only woman Prime Minister - Margaret or Maggie Thatcher, as she was called by her supporters.

According to her own wishes, she wasn't given a state funeral. But with the presence of the Queen, many argue this felt like a state funeral.

London came to a standstill as mourners and curious onlookers lined the street as her coffin made its way from Westminster to St. Paul's Cathedral.

Draped in the union jack her coffin was topped by a bunch of flowers and a note by her children Sir Mark and Carol. It read "Beloved mother, always in our hearts."

Inside St. Paul's Cathedral, over 2000 guests attended the funeral service. Two heads of state were present and so were 11 serving prime ministers and seventeen foreign ministers.

In the wake of her death on April 8, many who felt passionately about her had taken to the streets to protest against "Thatcherism" - her philosophy and political ideology. Many also condemned the government for spending millions on the funeral.

Security was tight, there were about 4000 security personnel on the streets in London.

Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz also attended the funeral. "We've had a woman Prime Minister and India's had a woman Prime Minister and we've shared a political breakthrough. What we need to do though is look at Thatcher's legacy and recognise that today was very special indeed and try to develop things in the future."

Like in life, in her death too she continued to split opinion.

For many she is the war heroine who took on Argentina, who made London a financial hub, who got rid of state control on the economy. Others will always blame her for ruining the lives of miners and ruthlessly taking on the unions.

"I think the money spent on this funeral just adds insult to injury. It is of course a drop in the ocean compared to the inequality that has spread in this country since Thatcher, " said one of the spectators who was wearing a Thatcher face mask.

"She was a good role model for the country and good role model for the country and she made great speeches as well," commented Carol Moyer, who came out in support of Margaret Thatcher on the streets in London.

Story First Published: April 17, 2013 22:13 IST

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