LADY Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with full
military honours at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday. The
service will begin at 11 a.m.
Buckingham Palace announced on Tuesday that the Queen would
attend the funeral, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. It will
be the first time that they have attended the funeral of a prime
minister since that of Sir Winston Churchill, in 1965, also at St
Paul's, which was a state funeral.
Lord Bell, a friend and spokesman of Lady Thatcher, said on
Monday that she and her family had specified that they did not want
a state funeral. The Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales,
received ceremonial funerals.
Downing Street said that the funeral service would be "a mix of
the public and private". It was reported on Wednesday that the
Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, would preach, and
the welcome would be given by the Dean of St Paul's, the Very Revd
Dr David Ison.
The service will be attended by the Prime Minister and the
Deputy Prime Minister; members of Lady Thatcher's Cabinets; and
"representatives from a range of groups she was associated with",
Downing Street said. It is expected that the surviving former Prime
Ministers, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, and John Major, will also
Meetings have been taking place to discuss funeral arrangements,
chaired by the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, known as
"Operation True Blue". These have been attended by representatives
of the Thatcher family, St Paul's, Buckingham Palace, and the
Metropolitan Police, among others.
On Tuesday, Lady Thatcher's coffin will be moved to the Chapel
of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster, after which
there will be a short service. The coffin will remain there
On Wednesday, the coffin will travel by hearse from St Mary
Undercroft to St Clement Danes, the RAF church in the Strand. It
will then be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King's
Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and will be borne in procession to St
At St Paul's, the coffin will be met by a guard of honour. The
steps of the cathedral will be lined by tri-service personnel and
Pensioners of the Royal Chelsea Hospital. The coffin will be borne
into and out of the cathedral by a tri-service bearer party.
The funeral service will be closed to members of the public.
However, they will be allowed to line the route of the funeral
procession, and the service will be televised. It will be followed
by a private cremation.