"Lying here, she is one of us": Margaret Thatcher laid to rest

A mourner weeps as Margaret Thatcher's coffin is brought to St Paul's cathedral
A mourner weeps as Margaret Thatcher's coffin is brought to St Paul's cathedral
Ian Dunt By

Margaret Thatcher was finally laid to rest after ten days of political debate today, amid extraordinary pomp and ceremony in St Paul's cathedral.

There were outbreaks of boos from the crowds along her funeral procession through central London and hundreds of protesters turned their backs on the coffin, but these efforts were far outweighed by the number of wellwishers who applauded as she was taken from parliament to St Paul's.

"After the storm of a life lived in great political controversy there comes a great calm," the bishop of London said his address.

"Lying here, she is one of us.


"This is a place for ordinary human compassion. It is a place for the simple truths which transcend political debate. It is also a place for hope."

Richard Chartres did veer towards politics at one stage, when he told mourners that "her later remark about there being 'no such thing as society' has been misunderstood".

The ceremony saw chancellor George Osborne wipe away tears as anecdotes about the former prime minister were read out.

There were also mutterings about a possible future political career when Thatcher's granddaughter, Amanda, confidently read out her passage from the Bible in front of a global audience, despite being only 19 years old.

Some online commentators were less kind to David Cameron, whose passage included the line "in my father's house are many mansions" – prompting jokes about the bedroom tax and his privileged background.

The Queen arrived at the service with the Duke of Edinburgh. It was the first time she had attended the funeral of a British prime minister since Winston Churchill's state funeral. And for the first time since that event, she walked behind the black 'mourning sword', which has otherwise not been used since the Second World War.

In the pews, observers and political journalists watched the great and good of British politics mingle before the service.

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who were sat next to each other, do not seem to have got over their troubles since leaving power. The two men did not shake hands or even speak to each other as they waited for the coffin to arrive.

Outside there were a few isolated scuffles with police as protestors tried to boo, but these were minor and badly attended. Overall, concerns about the level of protest proved unfounded.

There were no arrests and the only things thrown at the coffin were flowers, police confirmed.

The procession was well attended but not overwhelmingly so. Many of those watching on the streets appeared to be curious office workers who wanted to photograph the event.

Images of other parts of the country told a story of broad indifference, as TV screens showing the funeral in town centres proved unpopular with locals.

Cameron started the day by telling Radio 4 "we're all Thatcherites now". It was a comment which prompted a flurry of angry denunciations online, with many Twitter users changing their profile picture to show post-war prime minister Clement Attlee in a sign of protest.

Stewart Wood, Ed Miliband's chief strategist, tweeted simply: "No we're not".

Ministers spent the afternoon mingling with members of the Thatcher family until a private cremation at 14:30 BST.

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