Ceremonial funeral for Margaret Thatcher

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 09, 2013 13:02 hrs

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who passed away on Monday, will be given a ceremonial funeral with military honour next week, reports said on Tuesday.

Thatcher´s funeral is likely to take place on Apr 17 or Apr 18.

With full military honours, the ceremony will take place at London´s St Paul´s Cathedral.

"In line with the wishes of her family and with the Queen's consent, Lady Thatcher will receive a Ceremonial funeral with military honours. The service will be held at St Paul's Cathedral and is expected to take place next week," said a statement from Prime Minister David Cameron´s office.

"A wide and diverse range of people and groups with connections to Lady Thatcher will be invited. The service will be followed by a private cremation," it said.

The funeral will be a mix of the public and private.

"The service at St Paul's Cathedral will be televised and members of the public can watch the coffin procession from the Palace of Westminster to St Paul's. Lady Thatcher's wish was for the armed forces to be able to participate in the funeral - they will therefore have a key part to play," read the statement.

"On the day before the funeral, the coffin will be moved to Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster. There will be a short service following its arrival. The coffin will rest in the Chapel overnight," it said.

"On the day itself, the streets will be cleared of traffic and the coffin will travel by hearse from the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster to the Church of St Clement Danes, the RAF Chapel, on the Strand. At the Church the coffin will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King's Troop Royal Artillery.

"The coffin will then be borne in Procession from St Clement Danes to St Paul's Cathedral. The route will be lined by tri-service military personnel," the statement said.

The PM´s office said the coffin will be met at St Paul's Cathedral by a guard of honour.

Tri-service personnel and Pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea will line the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.

The coffin will be borne into and out of the Cathedral by a tri-service bearer party.

"The guest list for St Paul's will include family and friends of Lady Thatcher, those who worked with her over the years, including members of her Cabinets when she was Prime Minister, and representatives from a range of groups she was associated with. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister will attend and the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet will be invited," the PM´s office said.

"Flags will be flown at half mast at Downing Street today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday), and will be again on the day of the funeral," it said.

Thatcher, who is also known as the iron lady of world politics for her approach to domestic and international issues during her political career, died at age 87 on Monday.

Thatcher, who died of stroke, was the longest-serving (1979-1990) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the only woman ever to have held the post.

As Prime Minister, she implemented Conservative policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

Since 2002, Thatcher was not seen in public life. She had suffered a stroke then.

She was hospitalized in December 2012 with some ailments. A growth from her bladder was removed then.

Thatcher was a leader of the Conservative Party and came to be known as an unbending leader capable of taking tough decisions, including on privatisation of national industries.

Thatcher´s husband Sir Denis Thatcher died in June 2003.

She had paid tribute to him in The Downing Street Years, writing "Being Prime Minister is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be: you cannot lead from the crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend."

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