Thirty years ago today British voters elected Margaret Thatcher in a landmark election, ushering in 18 years of Conservative rule. She remains a polarizing figure: her enemies still regard her as nearly diabolical, while her admirers speak of her as a saint. The Telegraph looks back on her tumultuous 11-year premiership, from her surprise decision to invade the Falklands to her ignominious fall.
Britain went from the "sick man of Europe" to a major economic power under Thatcher, who liberalized markets and crushed the power of trade unions. A close friend of Ronald Reagan and a pragmatist with Mikhail Gorbachev, Thatcher ruled unrivaled until 1990, when her own ministers engineered her downfall while she was away in Paris. Britain's first female PM never appointed a single woman MP to her cabinet, and feminists loathed her—only one of many contradictions of a leader who still divides Britain today.