Meryl Streep, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, praised the former prime minister’s strength on Monday.
The actress said Thatcher was “a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics.”
But Streep, who portrayed the British leader as a confused, frail old woman in the 2011 movie “The Iron Lady,” said Thatcher’s “hard-nosed fiscal policies took a toll on the poor.”
“To me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit,” Streep said. “To have come up, legitimately, through the ranks of the British political system, class bound and gender phobic as it was, in the time that she did and the way that she did, was a formidable achievement.”
Streep also praised the way Thatcher was undaunted by “the special hatred and ridicule,” which she said was unprecedented for a public figure. Keeping to her convictions was “evidence of some kind of greatness worthy for the argument of history to settle.”
Streep added, “To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable.”
“It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th century,” said the actress.
“Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There is an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the UK weather the storms of European monetary uncertainty.”
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