London at Standstill for Thatcher Funeral

Dignitaries, protesters gather for former PM's sendoff

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 17, 2013 4:25 AM CDT | Updated Apr 17, 2013 6:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – Britain bade farewell to her Iron Lady today, with thousands of police officers and military personnel lining the streets of London along with members of the public for Margaret Thatcher's funeral procession, reports the Guardian. The divisive former prime minister received a funeral with full military honors, the first for a British politician since Winston Churchill, notes the New York Times. Protesters—who tried to get "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" to the top of the charts—turned their backs on the hearse to protest Thatcher's policies and the funeral's $15 million cost to the taxpayer.

The 2,300 guests at St. Paul's Cathedral included Queen Elizabeth II and representatives from 170 countries—including Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger from the US—though Argentina's ambassador to the UK opted not to attend, the AP reports. Bells rang as Thatcher's coffin was carried by military guard from St. Paul's, and crowds gathered there cheered Thatcher's final journey. "There is no tribute," says the dean of St. Paul's. "There is no eulogy, and that was Mrs. Thatcher's decision. It's not being triumphalist. It's not a celebration of her life and her achievements." Thatcher will be cremated later today.

A protest banner is held up along the route of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's ceremonial funeral procession in London.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)
An armed police officer stands guard as military personnel march past ahead of the ceremonial funeral procession for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in London.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)
The coffin of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament in central London yesterday.   (AP Photo/ Leon Neal, Pool)
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