Home World Europe News Margaret Thatcher Funeral: programme and details released by Downing Street

Margaret Thatcher Funeral: programme and details released by Downing Street


Downing Street has announced that well-known hymns and poems will mark next week’s funeral of former British PM Margaret Thatcher.

Latest details of the funeral ceremony have been published including the hymns To Be A Pilgrim, I Vow to Thee My Country and Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.

The programme features lines from William Wordsworth’s Intimations of Immortality and TS Eliot’s Little Gidding.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people took part in a demonstration condemning Margaret Thatcher in Trafalgar Square, London.

The protesters danced and sang around a large effigy of the late prime minister and chanted slogans.

Scotland Yard says nine people were arrested during Saturday’s protest – five of them for being drunk and disorderly.

Fourteen Chelsea Pensioners – aged from 65 to 90 – will line the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, April 17, as the cortege and military escort draw up to the sound of a half-muffled bell.

Margaret Thatcher, who died at the age of 87 on April 8, had strong connections to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Pensioners, over the last 10 years. The Margaret Thatcher Infirmary opened there in 2009.

Downing Street has announced that well-known hymns and poems will mark next week's funeral of former British PM Margaret Thatcher

Downing Street has announced that well-known hymns and poems will mark next week’s funeral of former British PM Margaret Thatcher

The coffin will be carried into and out of the cathedral by bearers from military units closely associated with the Falklands campaign.

The processional band will be a band of the Royal Marines and there will be a gun salute at the Tower of London.

Senior politicians and foreign heads of state will take their seats under the dome of St Paul’s before members of the Thatcher family followed by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh are escorted from the Great West Door.

In front of the coffin, the former prime minister’s grandchildren Michael and Amanda Thatcher will carry cushions bearing the insignia of two orders she was appointed to – the Order of the Garter and the Order of Merit – and lay them on the Dome Altar.

At the foot of the lectern there will be arrangements of white lilies and greenery.

Amanda Thatcher and PM David Cameron will deliver the two readings from the King James Bible.

Downing Street said Margaret Thatcher wanted the service to be “framed” by British music.

It will include compositions by Henry Purcell, Gustav Holst, John Ireland, Herbert Howells, Edward Elgar, Frank Bridge, Charles Stanford, Hubert Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams – as well as Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Faure and Johann Sebastian Bach.

The Bishop of London Richard Chartres will preach, and the blessing will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

The ticket-only funeral will be followed by a private cremation. Margaret Thatcher’s family have asked well-wishers to consider making a donation to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, rather than giving flowers.

Downing Street says Margaret Thatcher’s estate has offered to will make a contribution to the costs of the funeral.

The former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott has criticized plans for taxpayers’ money to be used for funeral costs.

In his Sunday Mirror column, Lord Prescott writes: “Thatcher split this country…. This country paid enough thanks to that woman. So why the hell should we continue to pay now she’s dead?”

A ComRes online poll of 2,012 people on April 10-11 found that 60% of those asked opposed state funding for the funeral, while 25% supported it.

The poll was carried out for the Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror.

Margaret Thatcher has been awarded a ceremonial funeral with military honors – one step down from a state funeral.

However, it has been reported that Lady Thatcher herself insisted she did not want her body to lie in state or money to be spent on a fly-past. But it was also her wish that the armed forces play a key part in the ceremony.

Downing Street said Margaret Thatcher had requested her body rest overnight in Parliament’s Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, and the Queen had given her consent.

About 100 people will be invited to a short service on Tuesday evening led by the Dean of Westminster, which will be attended by her family, MPs and peers.

On Wednesday, Margaret Thatcher’s coffin will travel by hearse to the Church of St Clement Danes – the Central Church of the Royal Air Force – on the Strand.

The coffin will then be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery and taken in procession from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s Cathedral. The route will be lined by military personnel from all three services.

The Metropolitan Police acknowledges the “potential for protest” but says it will want to ensure the wishes of those paying their respects will be upheld.

Meanwhile, a memorial service will be held later at Finkin Street Methodist Church in Margaret Thatcher’s home town of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Margaret Thatcher’s father Alfred Roberts was a lay preacher at the church and she went to Sunday school there.

Later in the day the UK singles chart position of Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead, a song at the centre of an anti-Margaret Thatcher campaign, will also become known.

Sales of the song, from the 1939 musical film the Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland, have soared since Margaret Thatcher’s death.

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