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Margaret Thatcher’s twins, Mark and Carol, met at the former prime minister’s home to make final arrangements today just hours after a stirring full military rehearsal for her funeral had taken place before dawn.
Major Andrew Chatburn, the man in charge of choreographing the parade, said the rehearsal “went very well” and claimed it was “vitally important” to stage a trial of Wednesday’s event.
More than 700 serving Armed Forces personnel gathered in central London before dawn as a Union flag-draped coffin was carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage from St Clement Danes, the church of the Royal Air Force, down the Strand to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Margaret Thatcher’s twins, Mark and Carol, met at her home to make final arrangements for the funeral
Mark and Carol Thatcher spent time at her grand house in Belgravia today, and were later joined by Mark’s wife Sarah and their children Michael and Amanda.
Major Andrew Chatburn, ceremonial staff officer for the Household Division, who was also behind the royal wedding procession two years ago and last year’s Diamond Jubilee parade, said: “Timings are most important. We will learn something quite significant this morning about the timings, and to familiarize the troops of their duties.
“Bearing in mind these are sailors, soldiers and airmen who have come in to do this specific task from their routine duties, so it’s new to them.
“They need to see the ground as well so they can get a feel for how it’s going to go and they can perform their duties with confidence on the day.
“I thought it went very well.”
Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead, which has been at the centre of an online campaign by opponents of former British PM Margaret Thatcher, has failed to reach No 1 spot in the music charts.
The Wizard of Oz song reached No 2 after selling 52,605 copies.
Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead was still more than 5,700 copies behind Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E with Need U (100%), which remained at the top for a second week.
Rival campaign song I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher, which was featured in 2011 film The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep, entered at 35.
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, which has been at the centre of an online campaign by opponents of Margaret Thatcher, has failed to reach No 1 spot in the music charts
The 1979 song by punk band Notsensibles sold 8,768 copies after a late push from Margaret Thatcher’s fans.
The Notsensibles track was played in full on the programme, although Jamil did not introduce the song. The band was later mentioned as a new entry in the chart recap for songs 40 to 31, however the title was not named.
The Official Charts Company said Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead was “one of the most controversial chart contenders of all time” following Margaret Thatcher’s death last week.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who is overseeing Margaret Thatcher’s funeral arrangements, described the campaign to get Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead to the top of the charts as “extremely trivial”.
Aside from the controversy, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead has become the first sub-60 second single to ever make the top 10.
The song charted at No 9 on the Big Top 40 chart, broadcast on commercial radio stations.
It isn’t easy to ascertain when Margaret Thatcher first referred to her minimal sleep schedule, but the figure of four hours has passed into lore
Part of Margaret Thatcher’s fearsome reputation came from how little she slept; she could get by on four hours a night, it has often been said.
Former British PM Margaret Thatcher would keep her officials up working on a speech until two or three in the morning and then be up by five in time to listen to Farming Today (a BBC Radio 4 programme running every day from 5.45 a.m.).
“She slept four hours a night on weekdays,” said Sir Bernard Ingham, her Downing Street press secretary.
“I wasn’t with her at weekends. I guess she got a bit more then.”
It isn’t easy to ascertain when Margaret Thatcher first referred to her minimal sleep schedule, but the figure of four hours has passed into lore.
People use it as a benchmark of endurance, often jokingly referring to those who need much more.
Margaret Thatcher’s close friend and former Conservative Party treasurer Lord McAlpine stayed with her at Chequers during the holidays.
“She worked right through Christmas. When everyone else went off to bed she went off to work.”
Baroness Thatcher’s biographer John Campbell, author of The Iron Lady, said her late-to-bed, early-to-rise routine made her the “best informed person in the room”. Occasionally husband Denis Thatcher would snap. “Woman – bed!” he is reputed to have shouted on one occasion.
Margaret Thatcher’s frugal sleep pattern created a problem for her successor John Major.
“He found it difficult coming after her because the civil service had got used to a prime minister who never slept, and he used to sleep eight hours a night,” John Campbell said.
Sleep comes to be seen as part of a leader’s character. When Napoleon Bonaparte was asked how many hours sleep people need, he is said to have replied: “Six for a man, seven for a woman, eight for a fool.”
For the Iron Lady four hours was a badge of almost superhuman strength.
Winston Churchill survived on four hours a night during the war. But what is less often noted is that he had regular afternoon naps in his pyjamas.
Margaret Thatcher was not one for these afternoon sleeps.
“No, she wasn’t a napper,” Bernard Ingham said.
But is the four-hour measure something ordinary people should aspire to?
In the world of business it is certainly something people strive for. High-profile chief executives from Marissa Mayer at Yahoo! to Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi get by on four hours a night, while Donald Trump claims to survive on three.
Geraint Anderson, author of City Boy, who worked as an analyst and stockbroker for 12 years, recognizes the phenomenon.
“There was a real macho competition in the City about sleep. One of the ways of getting respect was bragging about how little you got.”
The hours were long – from 6.30 in the morning to seven at night. Socializing might mean staying out till three in the morning. And this was just the analysts. The corporate financiers were the real hard workers.
“They’d work into the early hours, get a couple of hours’ kip at the office and start again.”
To admit needing sleep was a sign of weakness: “After the Christmas or summer party you’d make sure you stayed the latest and came in a little earlier than normal the next morning.”
Lady Thatcher was not the cause but her name was regularly invoked by his bosses.
“They’d say she can get by on four hours to run the country. And she’s an old lady.”
As well as business, there have been military leaders who eschewed the eight hours and opted for the Spartan Thatcher credo.
General David Petraeus ate one meal a day and slept only four hours a night, it was reported.
There’s no correct amount of sleep, said Prof. Kevin Morgan, of Loughborough University’s sleep research centre.
The only rule is to sleep long enough to feel refreshed when you wake up.
For about 1% of people – probably including Margaret Thatcher – this will be as little as four hours a night, said Kevin Morgan.
“You can’t just suddenly become someone who sleeps this little,” he argued. It’s likely to have been a pattern common to her life before becoming prime minister.
It is a big advantage for visionary or creative people to be part of this so-called sleep elite. And for a statesman attending all-night summits it might be a huge advantage.
“The people around you are flagging. When people get tired the quality of their decision-making is compromised.”
Prof. James Horne, also at Loughborough’s sleep research centre, says that mood is critical. Soldiers high on adrenalin can function on little sleep: “It all depends if one gets a buzz out of what one’s doing. If you’re despondent, you tend to sleep more; if you’re excited you need less. Margaret Thatcher was someone who felt on top of things.”
The average adult sleeps seven hours a night but many sleep considerably less than this, especially people over 50. So it’s possible that Margaret Thatcher fell within the range of normality rather than the 1%, James Horne argued.
“She may have sometimes slept four hours and made up for her deficit by sleeping a little longer on other nights.
“You tend to attribute great things to great people, that they need no sleep or no food and have superhuman qualities.”
Matthew Parris, who was a fellow Conservative MP of Margaret Thatcher’s during the 1970s and 1980s, says it was probably more like four to five hours rather than the three to four that some have suggested. It took its toll and may have led to poor decisions, he believes.
Despite her toughness, Margaret Thatcher was often tired out, he remembers.
“When we were jammed into the lobby I would be looking at her from six inches away. I would often see the eyes of an exhausted woman.”
Recently there has been a move away from ostentatious sleeplessness. Burning the midnight oil in Gordon Brown’s case was perceived as evidence of obsessive worrying and weakness.
The work-life balance has arrived, even in Number 10. Tony Blair slept longer than Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown but made an exception to get up at night for baby Leo. George W. Bush was in bed by 10, unlike his predecessor Bill Clinton, who worked late and got by on four or five hours.
For artists, sleep deprivation carries a whiff of creative drive and raucous hedonism. Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones guitarist, once stayed awake for nine days – when he fell asleep, he fell down so quickly that he broke his nose.
Seven outfits worn by Margaret Thatcher during the 1970s in the early part of her career are being auctioned at Christie’s on Monday.
They form part of its London Sale, which is being held to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012.
Sold by a private collector, the suits which come in an array of colors, are thought to be the first of Lady Thatcher’s clothes to be sold at a public auction.
All of the Iron Lady’s outfits have been given a guide price of between £1,000 ($1,600) and £1,500 ($2,500).
Pat Frost, Head of the Textiles Department at Christie’s told the BBC: “These outfits were worn at the beginning of her career, when she got the <<milk snatcher>> tag, and were part of important moments like her introduction as leader at the Conservative Party conference.”
She said she was not aware of any previous auctions of Lady Thatcher’s outfits.
Last year Lady Thatcher’s black Asprey rectangular leather handbag sold for £25,000 ($39,000) at auction.
She was said to deploy it to enforce cabinet solidarity.
The term “handbagging” was used as a reference to the way she disciplined unrurly Tory backbenchers and ministers during her years in Downing Street.
Seven outfits worn by Margaret Thatcher during the 1970s in the early part of her career are being auctioned at Christie's on Monday
Canary yellow dress
This was worn to the Conservative Party conference in 1975 and Lady Thatcher can be seen wearing it in contemporary news footage, standing alongside Edward Heath on the conference platform.
Margaret Thatcher can be seen in the navy suit during a Valerie Singleton programme.
Peach wool suit
This outfit she wore while being grilled about moisturiser by Sue MacGregor in 1971.
Light green suit
This was worn when she was confirmed as the new leader of the Conservative Party .
Margaret Thatcher is seen wearing the navy suit in an episode of Val Meets the VIPs, which was presented by Valerie Singleton.
Margaret Thatcher wore the green suit in a 1972 edition of Panorama called Women in Politics.
Black and white film The Artist has triumphed at the Oscars, winning five awards including best picture, best director and best actor for Jean Dujardin.
Michel Hazanavicius , The Artist director- winning on his first ever nomination – thanked the dog, Uggie, who appears in the film but added: “I don’t think he cares.”
Jean Dujardin said of his character: “If George Valentin could speak, he would say <<Wow! Victorie! Genial! Merci!>>”
The Artist also won the Oscars for best original score and best costumes.
Martin Scorsese’s Hugo also won five Oscars, mainly in technical categories.
Meryl Streep won best actress for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady – her 17th Oscar nomination and third Oscar win.
The actress thanked the Academy “for this inexplicably wonderful career”.
“When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going: <<Aww no. Not her again>>. But, you know, whatever.
“I look out here and I see my life before my eyes. My old friends, my new friends. This is such a great honor but the thing that counts the most for me is the friendships… Thank you. All of you, departed and here.”
Meryl Streep won best actress for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady - her 17th Oscar nomination and third Oscar win
Jean Dujardin broke into his native French language in celebration shouting: “Wow, victory!”
“Thank you to the Academy. It’s funny because in 1929, it wasn’t Billy Crystal but Douglas Fairbanks who hosted the first Oscars ceremony. Tickets cost $5 and it lasted 15 minutes. Times have changed.”
1929 was the last year that a silent movie won an Oscar.
Canadian actor Christopher Plummer became the oldest Oscar winner at 82 by taking the best supporting actor prize.
He was widely tipped to win for his portrayal of a father who comes out as a gay man after his wife dies in Beginners.
Christopher Plummer thanked his real-life wife who, he said, deserved “the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day”.
The Help‘s Octavia Spencer won the best supporting actress Oscar and gave an emotional acceptance speech, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
“Thank you Steven Spielberg for changing my life…oh my God, thank you… I’m freaking out,” Octavia Spencer told the audience, after struggling up to the stage in a floor-length gown.
Best adapted screenplay went to Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for The Descendants, starring George Clooney.
Veteran screenwriter and director Woody Allen won best original screenplay for Midnight in Paris but was not there to collect the award.
The first two awards of the night went to Hugo for cinematography and art direction.
Robert Richardson was cinematographer on Martin Scorsese’s 3D film and Francesca Lo Schiavo was art director.
And later, the film about an orphan who lives in a train station picked up a further three Oscars, all in technical categories.
Best sound editing was won by Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty.
Hugo’s Tom Fleishman and John Midgley won the Oscar for sound mixing and the film also picked up the award for best visual effects.
Rango won best animation, a first Academy award and nomination for director Gore Verbinski, who said it was “made by grown-ups acting like a bunch of children”.
The film features the voice of Johnny Depp, who plays a chameleon.
Best animated short film was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
The Oscar for costume design went to Mark Bridges for The Artist, who thanked the Academy “for making a lifelong dream come true”.
The best make-up prize went to J Roy Helland and British artist Mark Coulier for The Iron Lady.
Iran’s A Separation became the first Iranian film to win an Oscar when Sandra Bullock presented director Asghar Farhadi with best foreign language film.
Set in contemporary Iran, it tells the story of a marriage break-down.
Best film editing went to Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – the pair also won last year for The Social Network. Both films were directed by David Fincher.
The Oscar for best original song was won by Bret Mackenzie for Man or Muppet from the soundtrack to The Muppets.
Best documentary went to Undefeated, a film about an inner city American football team whose fortunes are turned around by a new coach.
The executive producer of the film was rapper Sean “P Diddy” Combs.
Northern Ireland film The Shore won the best live action short film.
Saving Face, about a British-Pakastani doctor who helps women who have been injured in acid attacks, won best documentary short.
Earlier, Morgan Freeman introduced the evening before a comic video was shown of George Clooney waking up host Billy Crystal with a kiss – in a parody of his nominated film The Descendants.
Freeman said: “All of us are mesmerized by the magic of the movies. This magnificent event allows us to celebrate the present and look back at its magnificent past”.
Billy Crystal hosted the 84th Oscars ceremony at the Kodak theatre in Los Angeles.
He joked: “This is my ninth time – just call me War Horse.”
On the red carpet, British comedy actor Sacha Baron Cohen turned up dressed in a white military uniform and sporting a beard and sunglasses, promoting his upcoming film The Dictator.
Sacha Baron Cohen arrived holding an urn he jokingly claimed contained the ashes of Kim Jong Il, the late leader of North Korea.
He then tipped the container on to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
The men behind the Meryl Streep’s transformation into Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady are about to find out if they have won an Oscar tonight.
Mark Coulier is one half of the team that transformed one of the world’s most recognisable actresses into one of the most famous faces in British political history.
“You can never tell how the Academy is going to vote,” says Mark Coulier, when we meet at a reception for British nominees in Los Angeles two days ahead of Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.
“Somebody said to me before we started on The Iron Lady that it’s a career maker or a career breaker. Hopefully it’ll make mine.”
Mark Coulier and American J Roy Helland are both up for an Oscar for their work on the film. J Roy Helland has been doing Meryl Streep’s hair and make-up for more than 35 years.
During the course of The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep’s Thatcher is seen both in her political prime and as a woman in her mid 80’s, struggling with dementia.
For the younger version, Mark Coulier used a small nose piece to alter the bridge of Meryl Streep’s nose.
“We tried to keep it as subtle as we could,” he says.
But some things had to be toned down. “Meryl’s got great cheekbones and Thatcher’s got a fuller face.”
The men behind the Meryl Streep's transformation into Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady are about to find out if they have won an Oscar tonight
The biggest challenge came when the team had to turn Meryl Streep into a woman in her mid 80’s.
That was a job for prosthetics and paint work. But the team wanted to avoid using a full face mask.
“We started off with a plaster cast of Meryl’s head,” explains Mark Coulier.
“We also did computer designs and took Margaret Thatcher’s picture and Meryl’s picture and fused them together.”
Mark Coulier then crafted latex strips from the head that were then applied to Meryl Streep’s face.
Damian Jones, producer of The Iron Lady, recalls the moment he first saw Meryl Streep in full make-up.
“It was haunting, I was speechless. It was pretty eerie because there was the old lady of Margaret Thatcher in front of us – and it was Meryl Streep.”
The film’s director Phyllida Lloyd says that getting the makeup right was one of the most crucial elements of the film.
“We worked so hard in the preparation and the planning of that. We didn’t want the makeup to be <<eggy>> and a barrier for the audience.
“It comes down to Roy, Mark and Meryl’s painstaking attention to detail.”
And what of the distinctive Margaret Thatcher hairstyle?
“Those wigs were personalities themselves, and there were many of them. And the teeth!”
Phyllida Lloyd adds: “Roy’s worked with Meryl for over 35 years – it’s an amazing relationship and an important part of her preparation and process. It would be very moving if he gets the Oscar.”