Into The Cathedral
With a Union Jack draped over her coffin, a mound of white roses perched atop the flag, and a choir singing a solemn hymn, Margaret Thatcher was carried into London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral just past 11:00 a.m. local time Wednesday. Thatcher, Britain’s longest-serving prime minister of the 20th century, revered by the right and despised by the left, died on Monday, April 8 of a stroke.
Peeking through the roses stood a single note, which read: "Beloved Mother—always in our hearts."
Our very own Tom Sykes live-blogged the funeral, so we’ll turn it over to him for this next section. At 11:12 local time, he wrote:
The dean of St. Paul's, the Very Rev. David Ison, has just read "the bidding" saying:
We come to this cathedral today to remember before God Margaret Hilda Thatcher, to give thanks for her life and work, and to commend her into God’s hands. We recall with great gratitude her leadership of this nation, her courage, her steadfastness, and her resolve to accomplish what she believed to be right for the common good. We remember the values by which she lived, the ideals she embraced, her dignity, her diligence, her courtesy, and her personal concern for the well-being of individuals.
"And as we remember, so we rejoice in the lifelong companionship she enjoyed with Denis, and we pray for her family and friends and for all who mourn her passing.
"We continue to pray for this nation, giving thanks for its traditions of freedom, for the rule of law and for parliamentary democracy; remembering the part we have played in peace and conflict over many centuries and in all parts of the world; praying for all today who suffer and sorrow in sickness, poverty, oppression or despair, that in harmony and truth we may seek to be channels of Christ’s faith, hope, and compassion to all the world."
The First Lesson
Baroness Thatcher’s granddaughter Amanda, 19, read the first lesson. With no eulogy or tribute (at Thatcher’s request), this was the most personal part of the ceremony. Amanda is a student at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
The Second Lesson
Prime Minister David Cameron gave the second reading, from John 14:1-6. Earlier in the day, he told Radio 4 “we are all Thatcherites now,” adding that it was “absolutely fitting and right” that Lady Thatcher be given a ceremonial funeral. Thatcher had requested that the prime minister of the day read the passage at her funeral. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself,” Cameron read, “that where I am, there ye may be also.”
George Osborne Cries
The cameras only caught it for a split second, but Britain’s conservative chancellor of the Exchequer was clearly moved during the funeral address by the bishop of London.
After the service, the coffin—flag, flowers, small note and all—was marched out of the cathedral.