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Amanda Thatcher experienced a side of her grandmother that few rarely saw. Like many a top flight career woman Baroness Margaret Thatcher lavished the attention on her grandchildren that the demands of working life made it so difficult to give to her own children. In fact, she adored them.
Audiences around the world may have been surprised by the 19-year-old flawless” contribution to the statewoman”s funeral but the Iron Lady herself would have expected no less.
Photo: Amanda Thatcher during her reading at her grandmother”s funeral
Visitors to her and Sir Denis” Belgravia home noted that pride of place on the mantelpiece went to framed photos of Amanda and her brother Michael, who are from their son Mark”s first marriage.
The late premier followed every detail of their lives with relish. And there was so much to be proud of.
Under the influence of their mother Diane Beckett, the siblings are said to have grown into modest, kind, pillars of the community – the kind of people a grocer”s daughter, who believed in thrift and hard work would heartily approve of.
When the marriage broken down in 2004, Diane, a Texan millionairess, moved back to the States from the family”s home in Cape Town to be near her parents.
Photo: The whole family gathered at Sir Denis Thatcher”s funeral in 2003
She wed again to James Beckett, a committed Christian, who is probably responsible for the small crucifix bearing a religious slogan outside their spacious Dallas home.
Amanda is studying at the University of Richmond in Virginia. A talented runner at school, she was voted by peers the “person most likely to change the world”.
While it was her pitch perfect reading and likeness to the young Margaret that captured the world”s imagination, her brother is an equally impressive young man.
The congregation in St Paul”s Cathedral will have noted that he has the bearing of his paternal grandfather who was a war hero and received an MBE for his military record. At school, he too excelled in sports, playing for the American Football team.
From his famous grandmother, 24-year-old Michael inherited a love of science and is a chemistry graduate. He combines his current job in a pharmacy with working for VOCES, a political organisation for the Hispanic community.
When Denis died Michael, then 14, honoured his grandfather by reading.
Despite the fact that they lived on the opposite side of the Atlantic, the Thatchers always kept in touch with their grandchildren, often spending Christmas with them.
When she could no longer travel, Baroness Thatcher spoke with them on the phone.
In between their visits, she contented herself with looking at their pictures. The woman who was the holder of the highest office in the land once told an interviewer that her “greatest delight” was receiving their photos from Diane.
“Apart from seeing them in the flesh, that is the greatest pleasure I have in the whole year, far exceeding everything else” she said.