LONDON, April 9 ─ Battling dementia, and severely weakened, Britain’s once “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher passed from a stroke last Tuesday at 87. Starting life as a grocer merchant’s daughter, the later Baroness Thatcher would become the only female prime minister of Britain (serving from 1979 to 1990), U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s staunch ally in disassembling the Soviet Union, a Tory favorite and a hated figure among Britain’s disenfranchised.
Her death was announced by her children Carol and Mark. Thatcher had been staying at the Ritz in Central London since this past Christmas.
An anonymous staff member said, “A lot of the staff here didn’t even realize she was one of the guests.”
President Barack Obama commented, “America has lost a true friend. Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history. We can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will.”
In the U.S., Thatcher is viewed favorably, by both major political parties. She is considered a stalwart ally and a key confederate in ending the Cold War. She is also credited with saving Britain from socialism.
Furthermore, according to a tweet by Obama on Thatcher’s passing, “She stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered.”
Liverpool Labour MP Steve Rotheram was less nostalgic saying, “She was one of the most divisive figures in British political history. She was celebrated by big business and the rich and powerful, but reviled by huge sections of a society she didn’t actually believe in. For many she leaves a legacy of misery.”
Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband said, “The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength.”
Thatcher has been criticized for her strong conservatism, a heavy-handed resolution to labor disputes and homeland ethnic contention.