Margaret Thatcher will be given a ceremonial funeral with full military honours at St. Paul”s Cathedral. The service is expected to take place next week, and will be similar in status to those accorded to the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.
Many members of Parliament have called for Lady Thatcher to be given a state funeral, as was given to former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, but that was against her own wishes.
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Lord Bell, her spokesman and friend, has said that Britain”s first female PM “specially did not want state funeral, and nor did her family”.
“She particularly did not wish to lie in state as she thought that was not appropriate,” he said. “And she did not want a fly-past as she thought that was a waste of money — somewhat in character you might think.”
Lady Thatcher did request a central role for The Chelsea Pensioners at her funeral. The Army veterans will not only welcome her coffin when it arrives at St Paul”s, but will also benefit from donations made in her memory — her family have requested that, instead of flowers.
The day before the funeral takes place, Lady Thatcher”s coffin will be moved to the chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster. There will be a short service following its arrival and the coffin will rest there overnight.
The following day, the streets will be cleared before the coffin travels by hearse to the Church of St Clement Danes, the central church for the RAF, on the Strand. There it will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by horses of the King”s Troop of the Royal Artillery, the Queen”s ceremonial Saluting Battery.
The funeral cortege will pass through Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and along the Strand, round Aldwych and then up Ludgate Hill to St Paul”s. Serving members of all three Armed Forces will line the route, alongside an expected crowd of tens of thousands of people.
At the steps of St Paul”s, the coffin will be met by another Guard of Honour and the Chelsea Pensioners. Members of the three services will then bear the coffin into St Paul”s for the funeral service.
As well as friends and family of Lady Thatcher, politicians who served in her cabinet are expected to attend the service alongside current cabinet members. It is not yet known whether the Queen will be attending.
After the service, there will be a private cremation service in Mortlake, south-west London. It is understood that Lady Thatcher wished to be laid to rest alongside her husband, Denis, who died in 2003, in the cemetery of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.