Formidable former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has died. Her children Mark and Carol announced “with great sadness” that their mother had passed away at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.
Her spokesman Lord Bell said: “It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning.”
PHOTOS FOR FULL GALLERY
A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.”
David Cameron immediately cut short his trip to Europe, saying the country had lost “a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton”.
Baroness Thatcher became known as The Iron Lady during three consecutive terms in Downing St.
The Conservative politician served as British leader from 1979 to 1990. She first entered Parliament in 1959 as MP for Finchley, north London and led her party after unseating Edward Heath in 1975.
As the occupant of Number 10, Baroness Thatcher presided over many of the key moments in British history including the Falklands War, the Miners” Strike and the end of the Cold War.
Indeed, it was her role in bringing about the West”s victory in the Cold War along with her friend US President Ronald Reagan that led a Soviet commentator to give the leader her flinty sobriquet.
Although a controversial figure because of her uncompromising style and policies, she is also widely regarded as the foremost post-war prime minister.
From her early beginnings as a grocer”s daughter, she became a giantess of politics, bestriding the world of Westminister and far, far beyond with her trademark Aspreys handbag.
It is thought that the Baroness will be given a state funeral, an honour only previously granted to four other prime ministers, among them Winston Churchill. Her final farewell would probably take place in St Paul”s Cathedral.