Oscar winner Streep hails Thatcher
Meryl Streep, one of a handful of actresses who have played Baroness Thatcher on the screen, has paid tribute to the former British Prime Minister.
The actress played Thatcher in the 2011 film The Iron Lady and was named Best Actress at the Academy Awards for her performance.
Meryl said: "Margaret Thatcher was a pioneer, willingly or unwillingly, for the role of women in politics.
"It is hard to imagine a part of our current history that has not been affected by measures she put forward in the UK at the end of the 20th century.
"Her hard-nosed fiscal measures took a toll on the poor, and her hands-off approach to financial regulation led to great wealth for others. There is an argument that her steadfast, almost emotional loyalty to the pound sterling has helped the UK weather the storms of European monetary uncertainty.
"But to me she was a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit. To have come up, legitimately, through the ranks of the British political system, class bound and gender phobic as it was, in the time that she did and the way that she did, was a formidable achievement.
"To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable."
She added: "I was honoured to try to imagine her late life journey, after power; but I have only a glancing understanding of what her many struggles were, and how she managed to sail through to the other side. I wish to convey my respectful condolences to her family and many friends."
Meanwhile, producers of hit stage production The Audience, which features a lengthy scene portraying Baroness Thatcher, are going ahead with the show as planned. The play, one of the hottest tickets in the West End, is based around a series of private audiences between serving PMs and the monarch, at a number of key moments during her reign. Haydn Gwynne appears as Thatcher seen in conversation with the Queen, played by Dame Helen Mirren.
The author of the production Peter Morgan is to give a short speech before the start as "a mark of respect".