Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Margaret Thatcher's funeral guest list announced: Tony Blair, Jeremy Clarkson, Shirley Bassey, Lord Archer and FW de Klerk but no Mikhail Gorbachev or Cristina Kirchner

Health problems will prevent Mikhail Gorbachev attending Baroness Thatcher's funeral
Health problems will prevent Mikhail Gorbachev attending Baroness Thatcher's funeral
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson
20/6/2001 Baroness Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, seated in the House of Lords, London, for the State Opening of Parliament
20/6/2001 Baroness Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, seated in the House of Lords, London, for the State Opening of Parliament

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson will rub shoulders with fashion designer Anya Hindmarch while Britain's first black Archbishop, John Sentamu, will mingle with South Africa's last apartheid president F W de Klerk.

There will even be the odd ex-convict, with the former jailed Tory peer and novelist Lord Archer attending. Jonathan Aitken, the former cabinet minister jailed on charges of perjury, is a close friend of the Thatcher family and is also expected to be there.

 

Downing Street released details of some of the 2,000 guests who will attend Baroness Thatcher's funeral at St Paul's Cathedral next Wednesday. As well as the expected representatives from the world of politics – including all surviving members of her Cabinets, every living former Prime Minister as well as current MPs and peers there are quite a few surprises.

 

President Obama is reportedly deciding whether to attend as discussions are underway about who will represent the US Government.

 

Although her old sparring partner Lord Kinnock is staying away, there will be an official representative from Argentina after Lady Thatcher's children decided that it would be "good manners" to invite the country's ambassador, Alicia Castro.

 

And there will be no shortage of other indomitable women in the congregation: the actress Joan Collins, who once said she wanted to be like Lady Thatcher "when she grew up" will be there as will the legendary Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey. June Whitfield who played Jennifer Saunders' mother in Absolutely Fabulous and impersonated Lady Thatcher also gets an invitation.

 

Old sparring partners from the media have not been overlooked either. David Frost regularly crossed swords with the former Prime Minister and once, when he asked her about the sinking of the Belgrano, she angrily told him: "If you think, Mr Frost, that I spend my days prowling round the pigeon holes of the Ministry of Defence looking at the charts of each and every ship you must be bonkers." However he still gets an invite as does the former ITN newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald and Sir Terry Wogan.

 

The composer Lord Lloyd-Webber will be reunited with his old collaborator Sir Tim Rice. Together they wrote some of the most successful musicals of all time and they were supporters of Baroness Thatcher. But it is not just celebrities and dignitaries who will get a look in.

 

Conservative sources said that while the names had not been announced yet there would a large representation of grassroots Tories – especially from her old constituency of Finchley, and Grantham, where Lady Thatcher grew up. Around 10 staff from the Ritz who helped look after her in her final days have been invited, along with staff from her time in Downing Street and life after.

 

Members and former members of the armed forces will also be well-represented with Mark Cann, director of the British Forces Foundation, attending along with a large number of Falklands War veterans. No 10 said the guest list 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 were printed and will be sent out on Friday.

 

A Downing Street 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.

 

"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."

 

The dress code for the event gives the option of "Full-day ceremonial without swords", "Morning dress (black waistcoat and black tie)/dark suit", or "Day dress with hat". It also specifies that "medals and decorations" may be worn.

 

The invitees include:

 

* All surviving former prime ministers

 

* All surviving former US presidents and a Reagan family representative

 

* Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton

 

* All surviving members of Lady Thatcher's cabinets

 

* The current Cabinet

 

* The Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband

 

* European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

 

* Lady Thatcher's former press secretary, Sir Bernard Ingham, and his wife Lady Ingham

 

* Novelist Frederick Forsyth

 

* Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia

 

* A representative of Nelson Mandela

 

Some of those attending include:

 

* Former cabinet minister Michael Portillo and his wife Carolyn

 

* Tony and Cherie Blair

 

* Former president FW de Klerk of South Africa

 

* Dame Shirley Bassey

 

* Jeremy Clarkson

 

* Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber

 

* Lord and Lady Archer

 

* Lady Thatcher's former foreign policy adviser, Lord Powell of Bayswater

 

* Former foreign secretary Lord Carrington

 

* Prime minister Stephen Harper of Canada

 

* Former prime minister Brian Mulroney of Canada

 

Old adversaries and friends who cannot attend funeral

 

Neil Kinnock They were political adversaries for almost a decade, but former Labour leader Lord Kinnock, 71, will miss Baroness Thatcher’s service as he has already committed to attend the funeral of a Welsh councillor from his old constituency who died a few days before the former Prime Minister.

 

Mikhail Gorbachev The former Soviet leader and Lady Thatcher are often credited with securing the end of the Cold War after the Iron Lady described him as a man “we can do business with”. For all their co-operation, Mr Gorbachev, now 82, has declined his invitation due to ill health.

 

Jim Davidson Leading the famous 1980s figures who cannot attend is her favourite comedian Jim Davidson. The 59-year-old has always been an outspoken supporter of Lady Thatcher. He is currently on police bail over allegations of sexual offences.

 

Nancy Reagan Ronald Reagan’s widow has said she is too frail to make the trip. The former First Lady said that she and Lady Thatcher had a “special relationship”. Mrs Reagan added that she “loved it that she [Mrs Thatcher] and Ronnie were as close as they were.”

 

Oliver Duggan

 

‘Scargill alive’ was old foe’s reply to text about death

 

Arthur Scargill, the former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers who clashed spectacularly with Lady Thatcher during the 1984/85 miners’ strike, has apparently responded to news of the former prime minister’s death.

 

Friend Ken Capstick said he sent him a text message simply stating: “Thatcher dead”, to which the former union leader replied: “Scargill alive!”.

 

Mr Capstick told ITV News: “I’d been talking to Arthur some 10 minutes earlier so I sent him a text message, a very short one, just said ‘Thatcher dead’. I received one almost instantly saying ‘ Scargill alive!’ and he’s very much alive.”

 

Lucy Bogustawski

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