Thatcher funeral scheduled for April 17 | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.04.2013
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Thatcher funeral scheduled for April 17

Officials have set former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral for April 17. Thatcher, known as the "Iron Lady," headed the government from 1979 to 1990. She passed away on Monday, aged 87.

The office of the prime minister announced the date of Margaret Thatcher's funeral on Tuesday.

"It was agreed this morning at the government coordination meeting with the Thatcher family and Buckingham Palace that the funeral service of Lady Thatcher will take place on Wednesday 17 April," the Downing Street office said in a statement.

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Margaret Thatcher Dead at 87

Thatcher, who was the United Kingdom's first female prime minister and its longest serving head of government in the 20th century, will not be given a state funeral, which would require parliamentary approval. Instead she will receive a ceremonial funeral with the same pomp and military honors afforded to other important figures, such as Princess Diana and the Queen Mother Elizabeth.

On the eve of the ceremony, Thatcher's coffin will be driven to the Houses of Parliament where it will lie overnight and then be transported by a horse-drawn carriage along a route lined by military personnel to St. Paul's Cathedral in central London.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, will be in attendance, according to a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.

Thatcher's funeral is expected to draw dignitaries from around the world.

Margaret Thatcher was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 1925. Soon after completing a degree in chemistry at Somerville College in 1947, she began a political career in the Conservative Party, where she eventually became known for shifting Britain's economic and foreign policy to the right. She passed away on Monday after suffering a stroke, aged 87.

World remembers Thatcher

The news of the long-time prime minister's death drew praise and criticism from around the globe.

At home, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron called her a "great leader."

"Her legacy will be the fact that she served her country so well, and she saved our country and she showed immense courage in doing so, and people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably centuries to come," he said.

The queen also expressed her condolences, saying she was greatly saddened by the news.

Female leaders praised her accomplishments.

Australia's prime minister, Julia Gillard, who is also her country's first female leader, hailed Thatcher for helping pave the way for women in politics.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also the first woman to hold the post in her country, described Thatcher as "one of the most outstanding world leaders of her time."

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso praised Thatcher's "contribution" to the growth of the EU, although he acknowledged that she was famously unconvinced by its merits.

She was "circumspect yet engaged player in European Union," who "will be remembered for both her contributions to and her reserves about our common project," Barroso said.

The polarizing leader remained unpopular among many in the UK, even after her death. Overnight on Monday, the UK saw numerous parties celebrating her death, with celebrations in some areas of London drawing the police.

kms/ccp (AFP, AP)

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