Margaret Thatcher is to be accorded a send-off filled with pomp and ceremony in London on Wednesday. Here’s how the day’s events will unfold.
Margaret Thatcher will be laid to rest tomorrow with an elaborate ceremonial funeral in London, with a strong military theme reflecting her government’s defining moment, the Falklands War.
A daybreak rehearsal of the funeral was undertaken on Monday morning, giving some indication of the pomp and ceremony to be accorded to Baroness Thatcher. The Queen will be attending, the first time she has attended a PM’s funeral since the death of the wartime leader Winston Churchill.
Here’s how events will unfold:
Prince Harry is expected to announce on Friday that he will join a South Pole adventure with a favored charity
We’ve always known he was cool, but this is getting ridiculous.
Prince Harry is going to walk to the South Pole in November.
Prince Harry in the North Pole on his previous WWTW adventure (WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Yes, really, you read that correctly. The third-in-line (for now) is going to join an extreme adventure with his buddies from the injured servicemen’s charity Walking With The Wounded and schlep his royal ass to the most southerly point on the globe.
Boys behave impeccably on night out to celebrate pal's forthcoming wedding
Sorry folks, no reports of strip billiards at this bash.
But Prince William and Harry did let their hair down at the weekend, joining a stag party for their chum Tom Van Straubenzee who is marrying Lady Melissa Percy later this year.
Getty Images; AP Photo
Patrons at the pub, the Feather’s Inn in Hedley on the Hill, were astounded when William and Harry dropped into their usually quiet local to celebrate the groom’s forthcoming marriage. The royal brothers bought drinks at the bar and also had a meal, with the pub’s chef tweeting proudly that he had just finished making ‘tea’ for William and harry and they they were ‘lovely boys’.
A run-through of the controversial funeral closed London streets this morning at dawn.
A full dress rehearsal for Margaret Thatcher’s controversial ceremonial funeral was held at the crack of dawn in London this morning, with over 700 members of the armed services processing a coffin on a horse-drawn carriage draped in the Union Jack down the Strand to St Paul’s Cathedral. The funeral will have a Falklands theme, and a disproportionately high number of the soldiers involved in the ceremony, which will take place on Wednesday at 11am London time, will be drawn from British military regiments particularly associated with the Falklands War.
St Paul's Cathedral. (Carl Court/AFP/Getty)
Military bands played funeral marches by Chopin and Mendelssohn as the dummy coffin made its way along the deserted streets closed to traffic at 5am this morning, although military and police personnel did not don the ceremonial uniforms they will wear on Wednesday. The band in place on the cathedral courtyard struck up Elgar's funeral march and God Save The Queen before falling quiet again as the coffin approached.
It is estimated that the full ceremonial funeral for the Conservative leader – the first accorded to a British Prime Minister since the death of the wartime leader Winston Churchill – will cost up to £10million. The Queen will attend, also a post-Churchill first.
Kate hooked on US reality show, report says
We'll file this one under maybe.
Kate Middleton's spokespeople were last year forced to deny rumours that the Duchess was sent (or sent back) bundles of free clothes from Kim Kardashian, but the young royal apparently can't get enough of Kim's show Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Left: Duchess of Cambridge smiles during her visit to the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland on April 4, 2013. Right: Kim Kardashian attends the opening of Tracy Anderson Flagship Studio in Brentwood, Calif. on April 4. (Pool photo by Danny Lawson; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, via Getty )
The Duchess, 31, decided to check out the reality programme after hearing that Kim, 32, was a big fan of hers and now she's a regular viewer, according one UK paper.
Harry to visit HQ of Headway later this month
Prince Harry will be making a royal visit to Nottingham later this month, spending a day in the city on Thursday 25th April, as part of his latest charitable role as royal patron of the charity Headway for those affected by Brain Injury.
Harry's first stop on the tour will be to the brain injury charity, where he will open Headway’s new headquarters, meeting people who have been directly affected by brain injury, as well as taking part in an interactive workshop to gain an insight into the difficulties people with brain injury can face.
Britain's Prince Harry waits to present the winner's medals during the London Marathon, London, Sunday, April 22, 2012. (Sang Tan / AP Photo)
Prince Harry will be following in his mother’s footsteps, with Diana, Princess of Wales having occupied the role of the charity’s Royal Patron from 1991 to 1996.
The BBC looks set to play Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead, the Wizard of Oz song appropriated by anti-Thatcherites
They never played the Sex Pistols 'God Save The Queen' when it hit the number two spot in 1977, the year of the Queen's silver Jubilee, but this weekend the BBC looks set to play "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead", the Wizard of Oz song appropriated by anti-Thatcherites to 'celebrate' the former PM's death.
All 40 of the UK’s bestselling songs are played during Radio 1’s three-hour chart show on Sunday afternoons, and songs are only banned on grounds of being offensive.
Left: Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher speaks to the United Nations disarmament conference on June 23, 1982. Right: Judy Garland begins her journey in the 'Wizard of Oz' in 1939. (David Pickoff/AP; Underwood Archives, via Getty )
The Official Charts Company is predicting that Ding Dong! will remain in the top five this weekend.
BBC says it will decide later in week whether to play the song
The British public have long used the pop music charts as a form of protest - remember God Save The Queen - and now they appearintent on forcing the BBC to play "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead," over 70 years after it first appeared in the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz, following a Facebook campaign to get it to number 1 following the death of Margaret Thatcher.
The song is already in the top ten in the midweek charts, with more than 10,000 copies sold, according to Media Guardian, following the death of the former prime minister on Monday, aged 87.
The Facebook group is called "Make Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead number one the week Thatcher dies", and it launched on Monday.
The Official Charts Company told the Guardian that the song, credited to Judy Garland, had been purchased more than 10,600 times by midnight on Tuesday.
PM’s office says coffin bearer party will ‘include current service personal from ships, units and regiments notable for their service in the Falklands campaign.”
Baroness Thatcher’s funeral will have a Falklands War theme, with clear reminders of the 1982 conflict which defined Thatcher's rule and claimed the lives of 255 Britons and 649 Argentinians.
Downing Street announced today that more than 700 armed forces personnel will take part in the final farewell to Thatcher.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool on October 8, 1987. (John Downing/Getty)
Her coffin will be carried into into St. Paul's Cathedral by bearers from units particularly associated with the Falklands War.
First time Monarch attends PM funeral since Churchill
The Queen will attend the funeral of Margaret Thatcher next Wednesday, the first time that she has attended a prime minister’s funeral since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
The decision is bound to infuriate those who claim Thatcher was a force for ill in the UK.
According to The (paywalled) London Times, the Queen gave her consent “some time ago” to the proposal by the Government that Lady Thatcher be given a ceremonial funeral with military honours, however it will not be a state funeral.
Lord Bell, her friend and spokesman, said: “She specifically did not want a state funeral and nor did her family. She particularly did not wish to lie in state as she thought that was not appropriate. And she didn’t want a fly-past as she thought that was a waste of money.”
Correction: Harry will present medals at finish line, not run marathon
With all other news cancelled yesterday due to the death of the Iron Lady, we must apologise for neglecting to tell you of the latest Harry updates (although we got the news out of his romantic fling with a shopgirl before word of Mrs T's passing broke).
Well, on April 19, Prince Harry will attend the launch of The Walking With the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge at the Mandarin Hotel in London.
Prince Harry in Norway with WWTW team (David Cheskin, WPA Pool / Getty Images)
At this kickoff for the fundraising competition, Harry will meet with a selection of the wounded service personnel taking part in the exhibition, St. James's Palace said Monday. He'll learn from those competing in the challenge about their training program and what challenges they can expect to face. He'll also deliver a short speech.
There are few people who can make the Queen nervous. Their number just decreased by one.
The Union Flag has been lowered to half mast over Buckingham Palace, and spokespeople there have said that the Queen will be sending a message of condolence to the family of Mrs Thatcher. There is no doubt that the two women, seperated in age by just six months (Thatcher was the elder), respected each other enormously. But it was not always an easy relationship. There's a marvelous moment in the new Helen Mirren play, “The Audience” – which dramatizes the weekly meetings that have taken place between monarch and her prime minister every Tuesday for the last sixty years – when the Queen is seen literally trembling in her boots as she awaits the arrival of Margaret Thatcher one afternoon.
The Queen’s equerry provides a running commentary on Thatcher’s state – the word from Whitehall is that she is ‘vibrating’ and when she gets out of the official car to charge into the palace, her feet are said to be scarcely touching the ground such is her rage.
Soon enough, Thatcher arrives in the Queen’s presence and begins furiously upbraiding the Queen, accusing her of betraying the confidentiality of their meetings, following the appearance of a piece in the Sunday Times reporting that sources ‘very close’ to the Queen have signaled that the Queen finds Thatcher’s policies hard-hearted and lacking in compassion for the poor.
Twnety Coldstream Guards contracted the skin disease on exercises in Germany
Twenty guardsmen responsible for protecting the Queen at Windsor Castle have contracted the skin disease scabies, the Daily Mail has reported.
The Coldstream Guards, who guard the Monarch at her Royal Residences and live near Windsor Castle at Victoria Barracks, are said to have contracted the disease when on exercise in Germany.
Guardsmen at Windsor Castle (WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Prince Harry fell for girl working at a shop in Eton High Street as a teenager, a new bio claims
An otherwise rather predictable new biography of Prince Harry serialized in the Daily Mail over the weekend and again today does contain one bona fide scoop – the tale of Harry’s schoolboy romance with a lowly shopgirl named Margaret. At least, we are told by author Chris Hutchins, that is her middle name as she refused to be fully identified, for reasons which will become clear.
The romance developed after Harry’s passionate Valentine cards and declarations of love for Laura Gerard Leigh, the daughter of a multi-millionaire stockbroker who was a pal of his grandpa Prince Philip, went unrequited. With the posh girls giving him no dice, it seems Harry re-adjusted his targeting somewhat, and instead opted for proximity.
'Margaret' worked at one of the many convenience stores that line Eton High Street, where boys are allowed to shop for extra food.
Kate comes face to face with herself in fantastic plastic
Admittedly, coming face to face with yourself rendered as a doll is always likely be a disconcerting experience, but even so we can't help feeling Kate was perhaps a little too frank and outspoken when royal fan Dayna Miller, 11, showed Kate a doll which she got as a Christmas gift from her mother.
Detail of a doll shown to the Duchess of Cambridge, known as the Countess of Strathearn when in Scotland, by Royal fans Dayna Miller and her mother Sharon Miller, during her visit to Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland. (Danny Lawson/PA)
According to a reporter from The Daily Mirror:
The youngster said: "She looked at it and she said 'does my hair look like that?'.
"Then she asked me where I got it from."
She added: "Kate's much prettier than the doll."
Dayna's mother Sharon, 48, who wore a crown to meet the royals, said she bought the doll online for her daughter.
Sixty years and hardly a slip.