Former Prime Minister Buried
HORSTED KEYNES, England (AP) _ Harold Macmillan, the Tory prime minister who led Britain into its golden 1960s era while presiding over the breakup of its empire, was buried today in a private ceremony in the churchyard of his home village.
Macmillan died Dec. 29 at age 92.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was among 200 mourners who packed the Norman church of St. Giles in this village 30 miles south of London. Former prime ministers Alex Douglas-Home and Edward Heath also came to pay last respects to their fellow Conservative.
The church rector, the Rev. Mark Hill-Tout, eulogized Macmillan as ″a man of the people.″
The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt. Rev. Eric Kemp, said: ″All that we have known and loved in Harold Macmillan is not lost and gone forever. His gentlemanliness, his wit, his care, his vision, will be found in the greater glory of the resurrection, when we shall see him again.″
Macmillan’s eldest grandson Alexander, who succeeds to his title, and his second grandson Adam, read the lessons. Outside, the flag of St. George fluttered at half-staff in light rain and a pale wintry sun.
Wreaths included one bearing the crest of the Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II’s son Charles, and a handwritten inscription reading: ″In admiring memory, from Charles.″
The humble also sent their respects to the man known in his village as ″Mr. Harold,″ rather than as Lord Stockton, the aristocratic title he received in 1984. Wreaths came from a local school and scout group and from employees working on his nearby estate, Birch Grove. Six estate workers acted as pallbearers.
The coffin, covered in blue and yellow flowers picked from Macmillan’s garden, was lowered into the family plot beside his parents, his wife Lady Dorothy who died in 1966, and his son Maurice who died in 1984.
Macmillan served as prime minister from January 1957 to October 1963, a prosperous time for Britain after the rigors of post-World War II austerity and an era of liberalization. Macmillan was dubbed ″Supermac.″ He emerged as a world statesman in negotiations with President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, both now deceased.
Kennedy frequently sought Macmillan’s advice during the Cuba missiles crisis and also credited him with arranging the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which the United States, Russia and Britain signed in Moscow in July 1963.
Macmillan also helped guide the colonial possessions of Britain’s once vast empire to independent statehood.