Argentine officials vetoed from attending funeral by Thatcher’s children
Lady Thatcher’s children have vetoed the presence of Argentinian officials at their mother’s funeral next Wednesday.
Sir Mark Thatcher and his sister Carol are said to have felt it would be “inappropriate” for representatives of the Argentine government to attend the ceremony.
The committee organising the funeral, code-named Operation True Blue, are meeting daily and are planning to make the liberation of the Falkland Islands central to proceedings.
The 1st Battalion Welsh Guard, who suffered some of the heaviest losses during the conflict, will form a guard of honour to receive the coffin as it arrives at St Paul’s and the coffin itself will be carried into the cathedral by ten pallbearers chosen from units “notable for their service during the Falklands campaign”.
800 former and present MPs and peers are among the 2300 guests who will receive invitations to the ceremony, due to be sent out tomorrow.
Those who have confirmed their attendance include Tony and Cherie Blair and the last president of apartheid South Africa, FW de Klerk.
FW de Klerk, who ordered the release of Nelson Mandela and agreed to the negotiations that ended apartheid, praised Lady Thatcher “not only as one of Britain’s greatest prime ministers, but also as a leader whose policies and approach had a significant impact on politics throughout the world”.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have also confirmed their attendance. The Queen has not attended the funeral of a British politician since Winston Churchill in 1965.
Those unable to attend include Nancy Reagan, the widow of American president Ronald Reagan, and the former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev who described Lady Thatcher as a “heavyweight politician and a striking person”.
The death of Lady Thatcher has polarised the nation.
The Prime Minister called her an “extraordinary leader and an extraordinary woman” at a special session of Parliament held in her honour. Some MPs and peers were angered as they believed it was unnecessary for them to be recalled early for this session and a number of Labour MPs did not attend.
Further controversy is likely as the Prime Minister has called for Prime Minister’s Questions to be cancelled and the Commons to sit later on the day of the funeral.
Security concerns have also been raised over the funeral after events were held in numerous cities earlier this week celebrating Lady Thatcher’s death.