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Public and private mix for St Paul’s funeral

12 April 2013


Military honours: the funeral cortège of Sir Winston Churchill in London in January 1965

Military honours: the funeral cortège of Sir Winston Churchill in London in January 1965

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 attend.

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 overnight.

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 Paul's.

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.

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