Margaret Thatcher’s funeral invitation list released


Downing Street has released an initial list of invitations to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral next Wednesday.

All surviving US presidents and British prime ministers are on the guest list, as well as a representative of the Reagan family.

Ronald Reagan’s widow Nancy is understood to be too frail to travel.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev will also not be attending owing to health problems, his spokesman has said.

It has also been confirmed that neither George H.W. Bush, Mr Reagan’s vice-president who succeeded him in the White House nor his son George W. Bush, US President between 2001 and 2009, will be attending.

The guest list for the event was drawn up by Lady Thatcher’s family with the assistance of the government and the Conservative Party.

More than 2,000 invitations will be sent out, with most set to be dispatched on Friday.

The Queen and Prince Philip are already confirmed for the ceremony, which will take place in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

It will be the first funeral of a British politician the Queen has attended since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

The cathedral has a capacity of 2,300 and is expected to be full on the day.

All surviving members of Lady Thatcher’s cabinets will be invited, as will the current cabinet and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Other invited guests from around the globe include former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and a representative of Nelson Mandela.

A spokesman for Mrs Reagan said she was “heartbroken” about Lady Thatcher’s death but was no longer able to make such trips and a family friend, Fred Ryan, would be representing her at the funeral.

Guests from the world of entertainment who have already confirmed their attendance include BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey, broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan, Lord Lloyd Webber and Sir Timothy Rice.

Author Frederick Forsyth, a longstanding supporter of the Conservative Party, has also been invited, as have actresses Joan Collins and June Whitfield.

Veteran journalists Sir David Frost and Sir Trevor McDonald will be attending, alongside British fashion accessories designer Anya Hindmarch and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu.

Labour former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have confirmed their attendance, as has Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, and FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has not been invited, but the country’s ambassador to Britain has. Downing Street says this is in keeping with diplomatic protocol for such occasions.

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Lord Kinnock, who was Labour leader for most of Lady Thatcher’s time in Downing Street and was defeated by her at the 1987 election, will not be present because of a commitment to attend the funeral of a former local councillor in Wales.

More than 700 armed forces personnel will line the route of the procession from Westminster to St Paul’s, including three bands whose drums will be covered in black cloth.

A gun salute will be fired from the Tower of London and the coffin will be carried into St Paul’s by service personnel from regiments and ships closely associated with the Falklands campaign.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he believed it was right that Lady Thatcher was being given a ceremonial funeral with full military honours.

“I think people would find us a pretty extraordinary country if we didn’t properly commemorate with dignity, with seriousness, but with also some fanfare… the passing of this extraordinary woman,” he said.

source- Punch Nigeria


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