Great Britain said goodbye to its former first-woman, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, on Wednesday in a funeral fit for a queen. Or aptly, a Prime Minister in this case. Even posthumously, the colloquially dubbed Iron Lady was met with mixed reactions: honors, tears, hymns… and a few resounding boos. Somehow oddly apropos.
Mrs. Thatcher’s coffin made a regal entrance, carried in by a horse-drawn carriage to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the service took place. Queen Elizabeth, eleven former prime ministers along with 2,200 others attended the grand funeral. Thatcher’s 19-year-old granddaughter, Amanda, read a passage from the New Testament for her deceased grandmother while British hymns resounded throughout. Britain’s current finance minister, George Osborne, was noticeably upset, with visible tears streaking his face during the funeral ceremony.
Those British Thatcher-supporters who were not allowed inside the funeral stood outside to show their support and love. “Margaret Thatcher came along and sorted everything out. Her legacy is that she put the word ‘great’ back into Great Britain,” one man told a camera crew outside.
While those inside paid their respects, there was simultaneously a characteristic-for-MT slew of opponents lining the streets outside the cathedral booing and holding up anti-Thatcher signs. It seems a bit late for these passion-filled acts of hate… but Thatcher always had her crew of opponents. Both while alive and now dead.
Margaret Thatcher, due to her own self-motivation and strong will, rose from nothing to greatness. Throughout dense brick obstacles, glass ceilings, sexism, prejudice and bad hair, she remained persistent and tough as nails. “I fight on. I fight to win.” Mrs. Thatcher was the first woman to become prime minister of Great Britain. Although she had to push harder than any man undoubtedly would to get there, she served for 11 years, longer than any other prime minister in the 20th century. And while there, her contributions were anything but bare minimum. Her unstoppable (and some would argue, impossible) determination in foreign policy, British territory and, equally importantly, social attitudes instilled both admiration and fear in a country of Brits. On the day she left office, she left behind a vast footprint. Great Britain would be forever stamped with Thatcherism, and although no longer draped in blue, definitively a changed state.