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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: News - Top Stories - UPDATE: Thatcher to Receive Ceremonial Funeral with Military Honors
Monday, April 8 2013, 11:02 AM EDT
UPDATE: Thatcher to Receive Ceremonial Funeral with Military Honors
LONDON (AP) -- 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 also expressed sadness, saying "we have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."

Thatcher, the country's first female prime minister, re-made Britain's economic landscape after 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.

Thatcher's forceful personality and hard-driving style earned her the nickname of the "Iron Lady." It was a term that was reinforced when she led Britain into war against Argentina in 1982 after the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands. She forced them to retreat.

In 1984, she escaped a brush with terrorism. An I-R-A bomb exploded in a hotel hosting the annual conference of the Conservative Party. It narrowly missed Thatcher, but killed five others.

The badly-divided Conservatives eventually pushed her from power in 1990, and the party has struggled since then to regain its footing.

In her later years, she grew frail after a series of small strokes, and gave up most public speaking on the advice of her doctors.

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.

It did not provide further details on the timing of the service, saying only that the arrangement are "in line with the wishes" of Thatcher's family.



Earlier coverage:

Margaret Thatcher Dies After Stroke

LONDON -- Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday following a stroke, CNN is reporting.

Britain's only female prime minister, Thatcher served from 1979 to 1990 as leader of the Conservative Party. She was called the "Iron Lady" for her personal and political toughness.

Thatcher retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and suffered several strokes after that.

CNN reports that she was hospitalized in December 2012 after a procedure to remove a growth in her bladder.

"We've lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great Briton," ABC News is reporting that Prime Minister David Cameron said in reaction to Thatcher's death.

Thatcher was born in October 1925 in the small eastern England market town of Grantham. She was involved in politics from a young age, giving her first political speech at 20, according to her official biography.

She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975 and made history four years later, becoming prime minister when the Conservatives won the elections of 1979, the first of three election victories she led her party to.


White House photo, courtesy George Bush Presidential Library: U.S. President George H. W. Bush awards former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States.


Read CNN's original report hereUPDATE: Thatcher to Receive Ceremonial Funeral with Military Honors

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