April 17, 2013
Margaret Thatcher has been buried in the largest funeral production since that of Winston Churchill half a century before.
Thatcher, the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th Century, died at 87, of a stroke. She had been ill for quite awhile.
A polarizing figure in office, she was known as a leader who transformed British politics and society. That polarization was evident in the contrast between the thousands of supporters who lined the streets of London to pay their respects as the flag-draped coffin rolled by in a horse-drawn gun carriage and the detractors who were heard shouting their continued disapproval.
Among the honors accorded to her was a gun salute from the Tower of London every minute, a military band playing, and the silence of the Big Ben bells.
Among the 2,000 people who attended the funeral in St. Paul's Cathedral were two heads of state, 11 serving prime ministers, 17 foreign ministers, and many other dignitaries.
Notable political figures attending included the following:
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, two of Thatcher's greatest friends, were absent because of poor health.
The Bishop of London gave the eulogy, and the music included Thatcher's favorite hymns.
A day earlier, lawmakers and the family of Margaret Thatcher attended the former Prime Minister's private memorial service on Tuesday, in a low-key prelude to the main public funeral. A black hearse carried the casket through London's Whitehall district and then placed it inside the crypt of the St. Mary Undercroft, a place of worship built in the 13th Century. The service was private, but security was tight.