Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

2,000 invited to Thatcher's funeral

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a tribute to Baroness Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons

Details of more than 2,000 guests being invited to Baroness Thatcher's funeral have been issued - including all her surviving former Cabinet ministers, world leaders and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Fresh information about the ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral was released as Lady Thatcher's old political adversary Lord Kinnock revealed he would not be attending.

Ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Nancy Reagan have also said health problems will keep them away. Argentina's president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been left off the list after a series of provocative comments about the Falklands.

Number 10 said the guest roster had been drawn up by Lady Thatcher's family and representatives with the assistance of the Government and the Conservative Party. More than 2,000 invitations are expected to be sent out on Friday, with a total of 2,300 people set to pack St Paul's.

A spokeswoman said: "Those invited include family and friends of Lady Thatcher, those who worked with her over the years, including all surviving members of her Cabinets, former Chiefs of Staff, Conservative associates, peers and MPs, members of the Cabinet, members of the Order of the Garter, members of the Order of Merit, foreign associates and dignitaries and representatives from the wide range of groups she was associated with.

"In agreement with Lady Thatcher's representatives, around 200 states, territories and international organisations are being invited to send an official representative to the funeral service. We have invited those countries and institutions with whom we have normal diplomatic relations. In addition, there are invitations being made in a personal capacity to some current and former world leaders as well as others from overseas who had a close connection to Baroness Thatcher."

According to Downing Street, confirmed guests so far include Sir John Major, Tony Blair and wife Cherie, Gordon Brown, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former South Africa leader FW de Klerk, and novelist Lord Jeffrey Archer.

Singer Dame Shirley Bassey, composer Lord Lloyd-Webber and broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan are also due to attend the service, which will begin at 11am after Lady Thatcher's body has been transported from Parliament with full military honours. But it is understood that comedian Jim Davidson, a prominent Tory supporter during the 1980s, is not being invited.

A representative of former South African president Nelson Mandela - whose ANC Lady Thatcher once described as a terrorist group - has been asked.

Lord Heseltine, who effectively forced Lady Thatcher out of office by mounting a leadership challenge in 1990, will be there with his wife, according to his office.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz