Margaret Thatcher Funeral: A Peek at the Iron Lady’s Children

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By Vittorio Hernandez | April 10, 2013 2:32 PM EST

At Baroness Margaret Thatcher's funeral next week, some spotlight would be placed on her two adult children, who had always stayed away from the limelight most of the time when their mother served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

With an Iron Lady for their mother, twins Mark and Carol Thatcher had to take backseats to their mother's political career then, but during her last few days, it appears the children took more control over their mother's life.

Although the two were elsewhere and not at their homes in Spain and Switzerland when the former prime minister suffered from a stroke that led to her death on Monday, they apparently were remotely limiting visits to their mother to just very close family members, with some exceptions, during Ms Thatcher's last days.

Ms Thatcher stayed at the Ritz after a recent surgery for the removal of a growth in bladder. The Australian quoted Sir Gerald Howarth, the Conservative MP for Aldershot and parliamentary private secretary to Lady Thatcher in 1991-92, while having dinner at The Ritz, sought permission to visit his former boss, but was informed only close family members were allowed.

The Thatcher children reportedly limited one visitor a week at The Ritz, and they even canceled the approved visits, prompting one friend to say that he felt cheated of a chance to bid the former PM goodbye.

In his The Guardian column, Russell Brand felt sorry for the Thatcher children who were probably also raised by an iron mom.

"You could never call Margaret Mother by mistake. For a national matriarch she is oddly unmaternal. I always felt a bit sorry for her biological children Mark and Carol, wondering from whom they would get their cuddles. 'Thatcher as mother' seemed, to my tiddly mind, anathema," he wrote.

The movie about Ms Thatcher, Iron Lady, included scenes with her young children such as trips to the beach and Margaret, the mother, helping Carol with her algebra, indicating a maternal side to the prime minister.

In another indicator of Ms Thatcher's unknown maternal side, The Daily Mail reported that she even requested the two wives of Mark to attend her funeral. Mark was first married to Diane Beckett, who now resides at Dallas, Texas.

He divorced her and remarried Sarah, who is also expected to show up for her mother-in-law's funeral.

Ms Beckett will be accompanied by her husband, James Beckett and her two children by Mark - 24-year-old Michael and 19-year-old Amanda. The Daily Mail quoted a close family friend that despite the separation between the couple, Ms Thatcher always loved Diane and there was never any animosity between the two women.

Mark was reportedly holidaying in Barbados when Ms Thatcher died. It would be a reunion for Mark and his two children by Diane since he could not enter the U.S. due to his conviction in South Africa for his involvement in a coup plot to overthrow the president of Equatorial Guinea in 2005.

Among the Iron Lady's last visitors was Lord Powell of Bayswater who saw the former prime minister on Sunday night when he spent an hour with her. However, he said the visit was a private matter and declined to discuss what transpired.

One Tory MP who enjoyed a weekly visitation privilege is Conor Burns. He disclosed that they shared stiff gins or a bottle of wine and he would give her a magazine or newspaper to read when the Iron Lady was not in a mood to talk. Mr Burns added he would even tell her stories or read her poetry, citing one of Ms Thatcher's favourite was the popular children's poem, The Owl and the Pussycat.

The MP shared that despite her known stiffness, the Iron Lady had a great sense of humour. When he told her of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's plan to abolish the House of Lord, she quipped, "Well, we should abolish the Liberal Democrats," referring to the party of the deputy PM.

Ms Thatcher's cremated remains will be buried beside her husband, Sir Denis Thatcher, at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. Mr Thatcher died in 2003.

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