A SINGLE half-muffled bell will toll for the arrival of the
cortege, before a service steeped in the "secular patriotism"
of the woman who devised it all in meticulous detail. The order of
service for the funeral of Lady Thatcher of Kesteven, who died last
week, was published on the website of St Paul's Cathedral on
It is understood that Lady Thatcher began preparations for her
funeral about eight years ago. Her choices reflects her upbringing
in the Methodist Church, where her father, Alfred Roberts, was a
lay preacher. The congregation will sing "Love Divine, all loves
excelling", by Charles Wesley, and the President Designate of the
Methodist Conference, the Revd Ruth Gee, will be among five clerics
leading the prayers.
Lady Thatcher also chose "He who would valiant be" by John
Bunyan, "I vow to thee, my country", with words by Cecil
Spring-Rice set to a tune by Holst, and the setting by Brahms of
verses from Psalm 84, the last of which Lady Thatcher also chose
for the funeral of her husband, Denis, in 2003.
Lady Thatcher referred to "I vow to thee, my country" in her
speech to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1988:
"I always think that the whole debate about the Church and the
State has never yielded anything comparable in insight to that
beautiful hymn." She went on to praise its "triumphant assertion of
what might be described as secular patriotism, a noble thing indeed
in a country like ours".
This patriotism is reflected in the dominance of British
composers in the music of the service. Before the service beings,
compositions by a handful of composers, all born in the 19th
century - including Edward Elgar, Hubert Parry, and Ralph Vaughan
Williams - will be played on the organ. As the service closes, the
organist will play an arrangement of "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma
The service is expected to be attended by 2300 people. At 10.45
a.m., the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will arrive
and be received by the Chapter, the Bishop of London, and the
Archbishop of Canterbury. She will be preceded by the Lord Mayor,
bearing the Mourning Sword. At 11 o'clock, the coffin will be
carried into the cathedral and placed on a bier under the dome. The
grandchildren of Lady Thatcher, Michael and Amanda Thatcher, will
place cushions bearing the insignia of the Order of the Garter and
the Order of Merit on the dome altar.
Lady Thatcher's coffin will be carried into St Paul's by bearers
including members of units who served in the Falklands War. The
west steps of the cathedral will be lined by pensioners of the
Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Instead of flowers, guests have been asked
to consider making a donation to the hospital.
After the Sentences, set to music by the William Croft ("I am
the resurrection and the life . . ."), the bidding will be
delivered by the Dean of St Paul's, the Very Revd David Ison, who
will give thanks for Lady Thatcher's "leadership of this nation,
her courage, her steadfastness, and her resolve to accomplish what
she believed to be right for the common good". He will then lead
the congregation in the Lord's Prayer.
Amanda Thatcher will deliver the first reading, Ephesians
6.10-18 ("Put on the whole armour of God . . . For we wrestle . . .
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places.")
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, will give the second reading,
John 14.1-6 ("In my Father's house are many mansions . . . I am the
way, the truth and the life: no man commeth unt the Father, but by
me.") Both readings will be taken from the Authorised Version, as
specified by Lady Thatcher, who also stipulated that the Prime
Minister of the day, regardless of his or her political
affiliation, should do the reading.
The address will be delivered by the Bishop of London, the Rt
Revd Richard Chartres. Prayers, beginning "Man that is born of a
woman . . .", will be led by the Revd Sarah Eynstone, Minor Canon
and Chaplain at St Paul's Cathedral; the Speaker's Chaplain,
Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin; the Roman Catholic Archbishop
Emeritus of Liverpool, the Most Revd Patrick Kelly; the Revd
William Hall from the American Church; as well as the President
Designate of the Methodist Conference.
After an anthem, "In pardisum" from Fauré's Requiem, the Bishop
of London will lead the commendation: "God forth upon thy journey
frmo this world O Christian soul . . .", before a contribution from
the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby: he will
give a blessing at the end of the service.
The printed order of service opens and closes with lines of
poetry, which will not be read at the service. The first is from
the final movement of Little Gidding from Four Quarters by T. S.
Eliot, and includes the lines: "So, while the light fails On a
winter's afternoon, in a seculded chapel History is now and
England. We shall not cease from exploration . . ." At the end is
the "Ode: Intimations of Immortality"from Recollections of Early
Childhood by William Wordsworth ("But trailing clouds of glory do
we come From God, who is our home.")
At the end of the service, the St Paul's Cathedral Guild of
Ringers will ring "Stedman Cinques" with the Cathedral's bells
half-muffled. The coffin will be taken to the Royal Hospital
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, announced on
Monday that the bell of Big Ben would be silenced during the
funeral. The same tributed was accorded to Winston Churchill in