Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's ceremonial funeral with military honours will take place in London on Wednesday, April 17, David Cameron's office said. The service will be held in St Paul's Cathedral, Downing Street announced.
The ceremony will not be a full state funeral, in line with the wishes of her family and with the Queen’s consent. Winston Churchill in 1965 was given a full state funeral. A ceremonial funeral has the same status as that held for the late Princess Diana in 1997.
A wide and diverse range of people and groups with connections to Lady Thatcher will be invited. The service will be followed by a private cremation.
David Cameron’s office said that the funeral will be a mix of the public and private. The service at St Paul’s Cathedral will be televised and members of the public can watch the coffin procession from the Palace of Westminster to St Paul’s.
Lady Thatcher’s wish was for the armed forces to be able to participate in the funeral – they will therefore have a key part to play.
On the day before the funeral, the coffin will be moved to Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster. There will be a short service following its arrival. The coffin will rest in the Chapel overnight.
On the day itself, the streets of London will be cleared of traffic and the coffin will travel by hearse from the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster to the Church of St Clement Danes, the RAF Chapel, on the Strand.
At the Church the coffin will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The coffin will then be borne in Procession from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s Cathedral. The route will be lined by tri-service military personnel.
The coffin will be met at St Paul’s Cathedral by a guard of honour. Tri-service personnel and Pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea will line the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral.
The coffin will be borne into and out of the Cathedral by a tri-service bearer party.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, will attend the service.
The guest list for St Paul’s will include family and friends of Lady Thatcher, those who worked with her over the years, including members of her Cabinets when she was Prime Minister, and representatives from a range of groups she was associated with. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister will attend and the Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet will be invited.
Flags will be flown at half mast at Downing Street Monday and Tuesday and will be again on the day of the funeral.
Lady Thatcher’s family has asked that if people wish to pay their respects, they consider making a donation to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, rather than laying flowers. Details of how to do so are available on the Royal Hospital Chelsea website.
The Number 10 website has a condolence page on which people are able to write private messages for the Thatcher family.
The public will be unable to attend the funeral service itself but can line the route of the funeral procession from the RAF Church in the Strand to St Paul’s Cathedral.