LONDON, Apr 9 – The body of Margaret Thatcher was removed from the Ritz Hotel in London early on Tuesday, a day after the iconic former British prime minister dubbed the “Iron Lady” died of a stroke.
A private ambulance removed her body at around 12:20am (2330 GMT Monday) from the luxury hotel where the 87-year-old, Britain’s first and only female premier, had spent her final days.
Preparations are underway for a ceremonial funeral with military honours which is expected to take place next week at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, after which she will be cremated.
Both houses of Britain’s parliament have also been recalled on Wednesday for a debate on the divisive legacy of the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th century.
Conservative Thatcher specifically did not want a full state funeral of the kind given to monarchs and to World War II premier Winston Churchill, her spokesman Lord Tim Bell said.
Thatcher also requested that she did not get a fly past by military aircraft as it would be a “waste of money”.
“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,” Bell said.
“And she didn’t want a fly-past as she thought that was a waste of money – somewhat in character you might think. She expressed those views to me personally and she will get what she wanted.”
His comments came after several Conservative lawmakers called for her to be given a state funeral.
Ceremonial funerals have in the past been given to the Queen Mother – the mother of current monarch Queen Elizabeth II who died in 2002 – and to Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
World leaders paid tribute to Thatcher for transforming the face of modern Britain with her market-driven economic policies, and globally for helping to end the Cold War.
Flags have been lowered to half mast in Britain but at the other end of the spectrum left-wingers threw parties upon news of her death.