THE Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury have expressed
sadness at news of the death of the former Prime Minister, Lady
Thatcher, who died on Monday morning following a stroke, aged
Downing Street confirmed on Monday afternoon that Lady Thatcher
will receive a ceremonial funeral with full military honours at St
Paul's Cathedral. The cathedral announced on Tuesday that the
funeral will take place on Wednesday of next week (17 April).
Buckingham Palace confirmed on Tuesday that the Queen, accompanied
by the Duke of Edinburgh, will attend.
A statement issued by the Queen's Private Secretary said:
"The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness
Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy
to the family."
The Archbishop of Canterbury said in a statement: "It was with
sadness that I heard the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher and
my prayers are with her son and daughter, her grandchildren, family
and friends. It is right that today we give thanks for a life
devoted to public service, acknowledging also the faith that
inspired and sustained her."
In a statement, the Prime Minister expressed "great sadness" at
Lady Thatcher's death. "We've lost a great leader, a great prime
minister and a great Briton," he said.
The leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, said: "The Labour
Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always
remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly
respect her political achievements and her personal strength."
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, said: "It was
said of Margaret Thatcher that being with her was like being with
electricity. She was highly charged, holding strong convictions and
our society changed as a result of her leadership. She will be long
remembered and deservedly so.
"On becoming Prime Minister she quoted St Francis of Assisi,
perhaps surprisingly. It was a reflection of the influence of the
Christian tradition on her life and beliefs, something often
Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, told the
Daily Telegraph: "People may differ about her politics -
and she divided opinion as any politician does - but there is no
doubt that she transformed Britain, she brought back respect, gave
us a backbone and she fought for us.
"I think she has done a great deal to strengthen our nation in
her period of office."
The RC Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols,
said in a statement: "We pray for the repose of her soul and for
the intentions of her family and all those who now mourn for
The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Dr Mark
Wakelin, said that Lady Thatcher had been "a hugely significant,
complex and yet divisive figure in post-war British politics. She
achieved a major breakthrough as Britain's first woman Prime
Minister, and her time in office fundamentally changed the nature
of British society, especially the relationship between individuals
and the state.
"For many people she was a courageous and committed leader, and
one of the best known British politicians around the world - her
roots in a personally responsible Methodist tradition were greatly
admired by many. Perhaps one of her greater achievements was to
change the post-war political consensus, forcing her political
rivals to campaign far more on her terms."
Writing in the Church Times last year, Antonio E.
Weiss, a historian and writer, described Lady Thatcher as "the most
Christian Prime Minister of the 20th century"; she had "sought to
link explicitly her political ideology to her Christian faith more
than almost any other politician of modern times" (
Comment, 20 January 2012).