Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, an outspoken woman known to many as “The Iron Lady,” has died at 87 after suffering a stroke.
“It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning,” Thatcher spokesperson Lord Bell said in a statement.
Thatcher led Britain’s Conservatives to three election victories from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British prime minister since the early 19th century. Alongside former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Thatcher battled against communism and saw the Berlin Wall get torn down in 1989.
On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his trip to several European countries after the announcement of Thatcher’s death.
“We have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton,” Cameron said in a statement.
Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II was sad to hear the news of Thatcher’s passing, adding that she would be sending a private message of sympathy to the family today.
Downing Street said the Queen has authorized a ceremonial funeral — a step short of a state funeral — to be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
It said the funeral will be attended by a “wide and diverse range of people,” and the service will be followed by a private cremation. But 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.
During 11 bruising years as prime minister, Thatcher transformed her country by a ruthless dedication to free markets and infuriated European allies. She transferred large chunks of the economy from the state hands to private ownership.
The former PM, alongside our great former President – the late Ronald Reagan – are among the most inspirational and fearless leaders of our time who, although gone, will always be studied, analyzed, fondly remembered, and highly respected. Their beliefs in individual freedom over centralized government were strong and formed a permanent bond between the two in what became a storied alliance and personal friendship, which stood the test of time.
Rest in peace, Baroness Thatcher, and may God bless your family and your country at this bittersweet time.