DAVID Cameron yesterday called Margaret Thatcher an “extraordinary leader and an extraordinary woman” as further details of the former Prime Minister’s funeral were released.
“She made the political weather, she made history and let this be her epitaph – that she made this country great again,” he told MPs who had returned early from recesss for a special House of Commons debate called in her memory.
Thatcher is due to be cremated next Wednesday following a ceremony in St Paul’s cathedral and Downing Street yesterday confirmed that the funeral will have a Falklands theme.
Military personnel belonging to ships or units that played a key part in the 1982 war to regain control of the islands will carry her coffin into St Paul’s cathedral. Hundreds more personnel will line the route of a procession from Westminster to the City.
Yesterday former Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both confirmed that they would attend the ceremony.
Around 2,400 guests will be present at the St Paul’s ceremony, including the Queen and Prince Philip. It will be the first time that the monarch has been present at a Prime Minister’s funeral since Winston Churchill died in 1965. Hundreds of MPs will also have the chance to attend, while 10 members of staff from the Ritz hotel – where Thatcher spent her final months – will be invited in recognition of their care.
Mark Thatcher yesterday said his mother would be “greatly honoured as well as humbled” by the Queen’s decision to attend.
“We have quite simply been overwhelmed by messages of support, condolence, of every type from far and wide and I know that my mother would be pleased they come from people of all walks of life.”