Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Funeral of Margaret Thatcher: the Northern Ireland guest list

Own goal: Cliftonville fans carry a black coffin with a witch's hat on the top to the Cliftonville v Linfield league decider at Solitude on Saturday.
Own goal: Cliftonville fans carry a black coffin with a witch's hat on the top to the Cliftonville v Linfield league decider at Solitude on Saturday.
Security barriers are erected near St Paul's Cathedral, London, on Sunday
Security barriers are erected near St Paul's Cathedral, London, on Sunday
First Minister Peter Robinson will attend Margaret Thatcher's funeral
First Minister Peter Robinson will attend Margaret Thatcher's funeral

Politicians from Northern Ireland are set to join 2,000 mourners at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday.

Among the throng at the ceremonial funeral at St Paul's Cathedral in London will be First Minister Peter Robinson, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and Alliance MP Naomi Long.

DUP MPs Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson and Gregory Campbell, and Ulster Unionist peer Lord Kilclooney, will also attend.

Former UUP leader Lord Empey was invited but was unable to attend. The SDLP said party leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell has a previous engagement.

Sinn Fein was unable to confirm whether Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness had received an invitation.

The Northern Ireland politicians will be joining a host of mourners including the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister David Cameron, former prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Sir John Major, and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Famous faces will include chef Marco Pierre White, actor Michael Crawford, former South African president FW de Klerk, designer Anya Hindmarch, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Terry and Lady Wogan, internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Sir David Frost, and businessman Gerald Ronson who was jailed for his part in the Guinness shares scandal.

The guest list has been approved by Baroness Thatcher's family and the Cabinet Office and Foreign Office assisted her office in sending out invitations. Around 200 states, territories and international organisations have been invited to send a representative.

The service will start at 11am, marked by a single half-muffled bell toll as the cortege arrives. The St Paul's Cathedral Guild of Ringers will ring Stedman Cinques with the bells half-muffled for about 30 minutes.

The west steps of the Cathedral will be lined by 14 Chelsea pensioners, in recognition of Lady Thatcher's connection with the Royal Hospital Chelsea where she attended chapel after moving back to the area in 2002.

The music for the funeral will include a number of traditional pieces by British composers, while Baroness Thatcher had chosen He Who Would Valiant Be, a favourite hymn from her childhood.

Hymns include Charles Wesley's Love Divine, All Loves Excelling and Psalm 84, set to the music of Brahms, which was played at her husband's funeral.

The prime minister and Amanda Thatcher will deliver readings from the King James Bible, and two of Lady Thatcher's favourite poems – Little Gidding by TS Eliot and Ode: Intimations of Immortality by Wordsworth – will feature in the service.

The invitations included a dress code requiring full day ceremonial without swords, morning dress including black waistcoat and black tie or day dress with hat.

Factfile

The NIO has announced that the Union flag is to fly at half mast at some buildings, including Parliament Buildings at Stormont. Over the weekend, the flag was already being flown at half mast at Hillsborough Castle and the Land & Property Services HQ. It will fly at half mast at Belfast, Antrim, Castlereagh, Craigavon, Lisburn, North Down, Ballymoney and Ards councils but not at Derry, Limavady, Moyle, Magherafelt, Newry & Mourne or Strabane.

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