After days of predictions of mass protests, etc., nothing of the sort happened, and Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was carried of with characteristic British pomp. Spectators estimated at over 100,000 paid their respects with spontaneous applause. The Telegraph describes the scene:
It seemed to come out of nowhere. No one knew who’d started it – perhaps it was purely instinctual. But as the hearse came into view, the crowds found themselves breaking into applause – applause that followed the hearse all the way along the route, until it drew up at the church of St Clement Danes. Then, once the coffin had been loaded on to the gun carriage, and the horses moved off, the applause started again – and followed the procession all the way to St Paul’s.
Down the roads it spread and spread, gently rippling, a long impromptu chain of respect and appreciation.
The applause wasn’t rowdy; there were no whoops or whistles. It was steady, warm, dignified. But it was also, somehow, determined. At Ludgate Circus, protesters began to boo and jeer – only to find the rest of the crowd applauding all the more loudly to drown them out.
It has often been said that Baroness Thatcher appealed to the silent majority. They weren’t silent now.
The crowd packed the sidewalks as Thatcher’s hearse proceeded down the street:
The coffin is carried into St. Paul’s:
The interior of St. Paul’s:
The Queen attended her first funeral of a Prime Minister since Winston Churchill’s:
Amanda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher’s granddaughter, read from Ephesians. She lives in Texas and is described as an evangelical Christian:
When the funeral was over, there was another spontaneous expression of affection for Mrs. Thatcher:
Finally, as the Queen looked on, the coffin was carried out of the cathedral by the bearer party.
Then, something remarkable. As the coffin was borne down the steps into the light of the day, the crowds outside gave three cheers. Like the applause that had followed the coffin on its journey to St Paul’s, the cheers were spontaneous.