Wed, 17 Apr 2013 12:30:00 GMT | By IANS

Britain bids farewell to 'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher

Thatcher was nicknamed the 'Iron Lady' by a Russian journalist in 1976 for her opposition to Soviet communism


Britain bids farewell to 'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher (© Reuters)

London: The funeral of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's only woman prime minister, was held Wednesday and was attended by Queen Elizabeth II, two heads of state and 11 prime ministers from across the world. Thatcher died April 8 at the age of 87, following a stroke. Her funeral took place at St Paul's Cathedral in central London. Her coffin, covered by a union flag, was taken by gun carriage to the cathedral, reported BBC. Over 2,000 people attended the funeral.

A protest was staged along the route of the funeral procession, but the crowds included thousands of well-wishers. Bearers were personnel drawn from units and regiments involved in the Malvinas (Falklands) campaign, which was always recognised as one of the highlights of Thatcher's tenure, reported Xinhua.

About 4,000 police personnel were lined up along the route to ensure security. Flags on government buildings were lowered to half-mast, and the Big Ben on the Parliament Tower was set to be silenced for the funeral. Prime Minister David Cameron said before the funeral that he "learnt a huge amount from watching" Thatcher at work, and today he felt "a great pride in all that she achieved, tinged with sadness".

Dubbed the "Iron Lady", Thatcher was the longest-serving prime minister of Britain during the last century, being in office for 11 years. The Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 had been keeping away from public appearances due to poor health. She suffered a stroke in 2002 and minor strokes thereafter.

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