Thatcher will get a state funeral when she dies

July 14th, 2008 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Princess Diana

London, July 14 (IANS) In a country where everything from naming a puppy to going on a holiday is planned well in advance, it is no surprise that there is a plan to give the rare honour of a state funeral to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher when she is no more. At 82 and six months older than the Queen, she is hale and hearty, though she underwent some tests in a London hospital recently.

The planners realise that it is inappropriate to speculate on her demise, but plans are plans and events such as a state funeral need tremendous workouts.

The Guardian says that when the consent of Buckingham Palace and No. 10 was reported by the Mail Sunday, there were doubts that Britain’s over stretched armed forces would have the numbers to line the route which a coffin would probably take to St. Paul’s Cathedral. That is why detailed planning is necessary.

If it comes to pass, it will be the first state funeral since Sir Winston Churchill’s in 1965.

State funerals are routinely accorded only to monarchs, and Buckingham Palace was forced into a compromise after being wrong-footed over the sudden death of Princess Diana in 1997, the most memorable public funeral in Britain since Queen Victoria’s.

In the 19th century, four state funerals were granted to “commoners” - Lord Nelson after his death at Trafalgar, the Duke of Wellington, a prime minister as well as victor over Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, Lord Palmerston and William Gladstone, both popular inhabitants of No. 10.

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