Margaret Thatcher laid to rest at grand funeral18 04 2013
India was represented by Union Minister Farooq Abdullah, who was among 2,300 dignitaries at the ceremony held at St Paul’s Cathedral for Britain’s longest serving Prime Minister who died of a stroke aged 87 on 8th April.
Queen Elizabeth II led mourners from across the world at the funeral in a very traditional British ceremony, marked by tears, tributes and some protests.
More than 4,000 security personnel were on duty during the ceremony to tackle any protesters and in the wake of the explosions in Boston.
The event marked the first such ceremonial send-off for a politician in Britain since the funeral procession of the country’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
Abdullah conveyed deep condolences to the family and friends of Thatcher “on his own behalf and on behalf of her countless admirers in India as well as the Government of India”. He also described the Iron Lady “as a transformative figure of global standing remembered for her notable contribution to the strengthening of India-UK relations”.
The minister was joined by senior Indian-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz and Karan Bilimoria, a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords and leading Indian-origin entrepreneur, who referred to Thatcher as “the entrepreneur’s prime minister”.
The congregation also included Thatcher’s family and all surviving British prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major the current cabinet and surviving members of the governments of Britain’s lone female prime minister.
Altogether, around 170 countries were represented by dignitaries including members of royal families, politicians, and senior diplomats.