Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral To Hold On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth To Attend

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2005: Margaret Thatcher greets Queen Elizabeth II
2005: Margaret Thatcher greets Queen Elizabeth II

Baroness Thatcher’s ceremonial funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral will be attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The funeral will be held next Wednesday and will be a precedent as it is the first ceremonial funeral for a former British Prime Minister the Queen has ever attended. She attended the state funeral of Winston Churchill.

There are no plans for other members of the Royal family to attend, a spokeswoman for Clarence house added, and the Queen will be acting in her capacity as the head of state.

Lady Thatcher’s body is currently being held in an undisclosed location after it was removed from the Ritz Hotel in the early hours of this morning.

She died from a stroke as she was sat up in bed reading yesterday morning, aged 87.

On Tuesday her coffin will be transferred to the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster. There will be a short service following its arrival before the coffin rests in the chapel overnight.

Members of the armed services will then line the route of the procession from the Palace of Westminster during the ceremonial funeral, the level granted to the Queen Mother and Lady Diana, with full military honours.

Lady Thatcher specifically did not want a full state funeral, her spokesman Lord Bell said.

MT1

Whitehall sources have told the Guardian that she had vetoed the idea as it would require a parliamentary bill to permit public funds to be used and she feared that a it prompt a divisive debate.

Lord Bell has confirmed that she requested that she did not get a fly past by military aircraft as it would be a “waste of money”.

“She specifically did not want a state funeral and nor did her family. She particularly did not wish to lie in state as she thought that was not appropriate,” he said.

Number 10 has confirmed that a wide range of friends and colleagues would be invited to the service at St Paul’s, which would be followed by a private cremation. The funeral itself will be televised.

A Downing Street statement said: “On the day itself, the streets will be cleared of traffic and the coffin will travel by hearse from the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster to the Church of St Clement Danes, the RAF Chapel, on the Strand.

“At the church the coffin will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery. The coffin will then be borne in procession from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s Cathedral. The route will be lined by tri-service military personnel.”

The route from the Church of St Clement Danes will be lined by personnel from the RAF, Navy and Army before it is met at St Paul’s by a guard of honour. Members of the armed services and pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea will line the steps of St Paul’s.

Former colleagues, as well as the Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, will be invited.

Flags will be flown at half mast at Downing Street today and tomorrow, and will be again on the day of the funeral.

Downing Street said that Lady Thatcher’s family have asked that if people wish to pay their respects, they consider making a donation to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, rather than laying flowers.

The public will be unable to attend the funeral service itself but can line the route of the funeral procession from the RAF Church in the Strand to St Paul’s Cathedral. [TheTelegraph]

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