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UK bids farewell to 'Iron Lady'

UK bids farewell to
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London (IANS): The funeral of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's only woman Prime Minister, was held on Wednesday and was attended by Queen Elizabeth II,...

London (IANS): The funeral of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's only woman Prime Minister, was held on Wednesday and was attended by Queen Elizabeth II, two heads of state and 11 Prime Ministers from across the world.A Thatcher died April 8 at the age of 87, following a stroke. Her funeral took place at St Paul's Cathedral in central London. Her coffin, covered by a union flag, was taken by gun carriage to the cathedral, reported BBC.

A protest was staged along the route of the funeral procession, but the crowds included thousands of well-wishers. Bearers were personnel drawn from units and regiments involved in the Malvinas (Falklands) campaign, which was always recognised as one of the highlights of Thatcher's tenure, reported Xinhua.

Prime Minister David Cameron said before the funeral that he "learnt a huge amount from watching" Thatcher at work, and today he felt "a great pride in all that she achieved, tinged with sadness". Dubbed the "Iron Lady", Thatcher, the longest-serving prime minister from 1979 to 1990, had been keeping away from public appearances due to poor health.

Thatcher became the Conservative MP for Finchley in north London in 1959. She successfully challenged former prime minister Edward Heath for her party's leadership in 1975. She won general elections in 1979, 1983 and 1987. She presided over Britain's war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982. She was credited with putting Britain back among the leading industrial nations of the world.

Her coming to power in 1979 signalled the end of an era when trade unions ruled the roost in Britain. She stripped the unions of many of their powers with the aim of transferring these to managements and individual consumers.A A leadership challenge forced her to leave No.10 Downing Street in 1990. Two years later she was made a life peer as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven. Her husband Denis died in 2003. Her children Mark and Carol both live abroad.

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