Thatcher's Body Lies in Chapel as Funeral Debate Rages

Image: Thatcher's Body Lies in Chapel as Funeral Debate Rages The coffin of British former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament in central London on Tuesday April 16, 2013. Thatcher's funeral will be held at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 02:11 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A coffin bearing the body of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was placed in a chapel in Britain's parliament before her funeral on Wednesday as a debate about the ceremony's scale and guest list deepened.

Draped in the red, white and blue British flag, Thatcher's casket was driven through London's Whitehall government district in a black hearse as tourists and parliament workers looked on in bright sunshine.

Four undertakers then carried it on their shoulders before placing it inside the crypt of the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, a cavernous vaulted place of worship first completed by King Edward 1 of England in 1297.

Aged 87, Thatcher, who ruled Britain from 1979 to 1990, died after suffering a stroke on April 8.

Security was tight, with armed police on hand as lawmakers attended a private memorial service commemorating her career as Britain's longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century.

Her children, Mark and Carol, also attended.

The proceedings were low-key, unlike her planned ceremonial funeral on Wednesday which some left-wing lawmakers have called an expensive political advert for her ruling Conservative party, which is trialing the opposition Labour party by 10 percent in the polls.

The guest list has prompted talk of diplomatic snubbing.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron denied the United States had snubbed Britain by not sending anyone senior from the administration of President Barack Obama.

"Absolutely not," the spokesman said.

Obama is sending George Shultz, a secretary of state for Republican President Ronald Reagan, and James Baker, who had a number of senior roles in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies. No senior serving politicians are attending.

COST CONCERNS

The spokesman also said the Argentine ambassador had refused an invitation to attend, a decision coloured by worsening diplomatic tensions over the contested Falkland Islands.

Relations between the two countries remain strained after a 1982 war over the islands during which Thatcher ordered a task force to retake the contested South Atlantic archipelago after Argentine troops seized it by force.

But in Britain it is the estimated 10-million pound ($15 million) bill for the funeral and its grandiose nature which has drawn criticism from some lawmakers.

Thatcher was admired by many but despised by other Britons and her death has - at least temporarily - resurrected the tribal left-right politics of the 1980s with her most extreme opponents "celebrating" her death and her most ardent supporters hailing her as the country's greatest peacetime prime minister.

Some are angry that she is being given such a lavish funeral at public expense, with Queen Elizabeth attending along with more than 700 armed forces personnel, some of whose units played a pivotal role in the Falklands conflict.

"This is a state funeral in all but name without the consent of parliament for funding and without the consent of the people. Churchill, who was the only PM over the past 100 years to have a state funeral, unified the country, while Margaret Thatcher divided it," Labour lawmaker John Healey told the Guardian newspaper.

In a ceremony that will be covered live by Britain's biggest broadcasters, her coffin will be carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage through central London to St Paul's Cathedral where more than 2,000 guests will hear her favourite hymns and bid her farewell.

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes

Saturday, 26 Jul 2014 08:14 AM

The United States shut down its embassy in Libya on Saturday and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U. . . .

Montana Rep. Daines: Obama, Reid Waging 'War' on Energy

Saturday, 26 Jul 2014 09:29 AM

President Barack Obama has spearheaded a war on American energy, Montana Republican Rep. Steve Daines said in Saturday . . .

Some in CIA 'Torture' Report Denied Chance to Read it

Saturday, 26 Jul 2014 08:06 AM

About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved