Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dies

Thatcher leaves legacy as "Iron Lady"

April 8, 2013

The Associated Press

(photo/AP)
Thatcher and U.S. President Ronald Reagan at lunch Sunday, June 6, 1982 at the Palace of Versailles, France.

LONDON — Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose conservative ideas made an enduring impact on Britain, has died. She was 87.

Her former spokesman says Thatcher died this morning of a stroke.

Prime Minister David Cameron expressed sadness, saying "we have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton." He cut short a trip to Spain and France upon hearing the news.

Thatcher, the country's first female prime minister, re-made Britain's economic landscapeafter coming into office in 1979 with a free-market philosophy and the goal of privatizing state industries. And she would wage some hard-nosed battles with the country's labor unions.

Her influence was felt long after she left office in 1990. Tony Blair, whose Labor Party languished in opposition as the Conservative Thatcher held power for more than a decade, ended up adopting many of her views.

The British government says Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honors.

Downing Street says Queen Elizabeth II has authorized a ceremonial funeral — a step short of a state funeral — to be held at St. Paul's Cathedral.

It says the funeral will be attended by a "wide and diverse range of people," and the service will be followed by a private cremation.