Queen Elizabeth II, prime ministers and dignitaries from 170 countries were among the mourners at St. Paul's Cathedral, where Bishop of London Richard Chartres spoke of the strong feelings the former prime minister still evokes 23 years after leaving office.
"The storm of conflicting opinions centers on the Mrs. Thatcher who became a symbolic figure — even an -ism," he said. "Today the remains of the real Margaret Hilda Thatcher are here at her funeral service."
"There is an important place for debating policies and legacy ... but here and today is neither the time nor the place."
More than 700 soldiers, sailors and air force personnel lined the route taken by Thatcher's coffin to the cathedral and around 4,000 police officers were on duty. Security was stepped up after Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded more than 170.
Spectators lining the route broke into applause — and scattered boos — as the carriage passed by, escorted by young soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Some clearly disagreed with the bishop's exhortation to leave politics at home. Some staged silent protests by turning their backs on Thatcher's coffin. One man held a banner declaring "Rest in shame." Arguments also broke out in the crowd along the route between Thatcher supporters and opponents.
Image: In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, a Union flag draped coffin bearing the body of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is carried on a gun carriage drawn by the King's Troop Royal Artillery during her ceremonial funeral procession in London, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The Iron Lady is being laid to rest - yet even in death, she remains a divisive figure. World leaders and dignitaries from 170 countries are to attend the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday, an elaborate affair with full military honors that will culminate with a service at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
Text and Images: AP