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The ins and outs of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral

Alex Riches

The former Prime Minster will be honoured with a ceremonial funeral.

The ins and outs of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral

Honoured by State... Former Prime Minster will be given full miltary honours      Photo: Infogratoris (Flickr)

THE question of whether Margaret Thatcher should get a ceremonial funeral is one of the most controversial topics of the moment. Mind you, even when she was alive she was known for making controversial decisions. So why should she be any different in death?

The problem the Government faces is that no other prime minister, not even the great Sir Winston Churchill, has been given a ceremonial funeral. They have always been reserved to members of the Royal Family, such as Princess Diana and the Queen Mother. The idea of giving one to a member of parliament is a bit unusual. On the other hand, Margaret Thatcher was easily the most decisive prime minster in our history, steering our country into an age of commercialism and privatisation. But is that enough to warrant such an extravagant funeral?

Well, the Government seems to think so, with plans to spend £10 million on making sure Lady Thatcher gets a proper send-off.

What is a Ceremonial Funeral?
A good way to get a feel as to what a ceremonial funeral looks like is to watch the clip below. Princess Diana’s funeral was a ceremonial one, as she was a member of the Royal Family. With the exception of there being all the Royal Family in attendance, you can expect Margaret Thatcher’s funeral to be largely similar.

How does it differ from a normal funeral?
A normal funeral would only have family and friends in attendance, a ceremonial one will be open to the entire country. Lady Thatcher will also receive posthumous military honours at the funeral.

When will it take place?
Wednesday 17th April at 11am. Parts of London, including the procession route will be closed for most of the morning and early afternoon, so expect public transport to be a bit messed up in the city.

The ins and outs of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral

Where will the funeral be?
The coffin will start off at the Palace of Westminster and then slowly make its way to St Paul’s Cathedral just more than two miles away. Along the procession, the coffin will be carried by soldiers who served in the Falklands conflict, by a horse-drawn gun-carriage and in hearse. The procession will be open to the public who are allowed to line up on the roadside to watch the coffin pass by. Once it reaches the cathedral it will be taken inside for a private ceremony which will be aired by the BBC. Once the ceremony is over, the coffin will be taken off for cremation and her ashes will be laid with her late husband Dennis at the Royal Chelsea Hospital grounds.

What are military honours?
Soldiers from the RAF, Royal Navy, Artillery, Welsh Guard, Royal Ghurkha Riffles and the King’s Troop Royal Artillery Horses will be present at the funeral, both lining the procession route and being present at the actual ceremony.

How much is it going to cost?
The Government has estimated that it will cost roughly £10 million, mostly funded by the tax-payer. But a contribution for the funeral will be made by the Thatcher Estate. The official cost will probably be released after the ceremony on Wednesday.

The whole funeral will be aired on BBC1 at 11am on Wednesday 17th April. You can plan and check transport options for London on the 17th on GB Mag’s transport page.

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