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'The calm after the storm of life'

The Bishop of London stepped aside from the political controversy surrounding Baroness Thatcher the politician as he delivered the address at her funeral service in St Paul's.

The Right Reverend Richard Chartres said: "After the storm of a life led in the heat of political controversy, there is a great calm. The storm of conflicting opinions centres on the Mrs Thatcher who became a symbolic figure - even an ism.

"Today the remains of the real Margaret Hilda Thatcher are here at her funeral service."

He went on: "Lying here, she is one of us, subject to the common destiny of all human beings."

He added: "There is an important place for debating policies and legacy; for assessing the impact of political decisions on the everyday lives of individuals and communities. Parliament held a frank debate last week - but here and today is neither the time nor the place."

He said: "This, at Lady Thatcher's personal request, is a funeral service, not a memorial service with the customary eulogies.

"At such a time, the parson should not aspire to the judgments which are proper to the politician; instead this is a place for ordinary human compassion of the kind that is reconciling.

"It is also the place for the simple truths which transcend political debate. Above all, it is the place for hope."

The bishop said: "It must be very difficult for those members of her family and those closely associated with her to recognise the wife, the mother and the grandmother in the mythological figure.

"Our hearts go out to Mark and Carol and to their families, and also to those who cared for Lady Thatcher with such devotion especially in her later years."


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