Baroness Thatcher funeral invitation list released

Downing Street has released an initial list of invitations to Baroness 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 due to health problems, his spokesman has said.

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

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

Full capacity
The Queen and Prince Philip are already confirmed for the ceremony, which will take place at 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 Hilary Clinton, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and a representative of Nelson Mandela.
Guests from the world of entertainment who have already confirmed their attendance include BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey and Lord Lloyd Webber.

Author Frederick Forsyth, a longstanding supporter of the Conservative Party, has also been invited.
Ex-Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have confirmed their attendance, as has FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid South Africa.

Downing Street has confirmed that Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will not be invited.
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 councilor in Wales.

More than 700 armed forces personnel will take part in the ceremony, which will be preceded by a procession from Westminster to St Paul’s.

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.
The Metropolitan Police said it was working to ensure the day passed off safely, amid concerns that some people may use it as an opportunity to protest.

On the day of Lady Thatcher’s death, there were small gatherings in various parts of the UK, notably in Glasgow, Bristol and London, with those taking part saying they were celebrating her death.
Met Commander Christine Jones urged anyone wishing to demonstrate at the funeral to talk to the police.
“The right to protest is one that must be upheld,” she said.

“However, we will work to do that whilst balancing the rights of those who wish to pay their respects and those who wish to travel about London as usual.”

Further changes to the Parliamentary timetable are expected next week, with the government tabling a motion to delay the start of the Commons on Wednesday, to allow MPs to attend the funeral.
If MPs agree with the motion, Commons business would start at 14:30 BST, meaning Prime Minister’s Questions, usually held at midday, would be cancelled.

On his weekly radio phone-in on London’s LBC, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “having the knockabout Prime Minister’s Questions” on the same day as a major ceremonial funeral “might feel a bit odd”.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office has said “an administrative error” led to inaccurate guidance being issued to diplomatic staff in embassies around the world after it was reported they had been told to wear mourning clothes on the day of the funeral.

They were later told it was unnecessary.

Lady Thatcher, who won three successive general elections, died “peacefully” on Monday after suffering a stroke while staying at the Ritz hotel in central London.

You might also like