UK: Thatcher to receive ceremonial funeral
LONDON (AP) — Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honors next week, the British government said Monday.
Downing Street said Queen Elizabeth II had authorized a ceremonial funeral — a step short of a state funeral — to be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The funeral will be attended by a “wide and diverse range of people” — including Thatcher’s family and friends, Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg — and will be followed by a private cremation, the government added.
Downing Street did not provide further details on the date or timing of the service, saying only that the arrangements are “in line with the wishes” of Thatcher’s family.
On the day before the funeral, Thatcher’s coffin will be moved to a chapel at the Houses of Parliament. Following a short ceremony upon its arrival, the coffin will rest in the chapel overnight.
For the day of the funeral, streets will be cleared of traffic and Thatcher’s coffin will travel by hearse to the Church of St Clement Danes, the chapel of the Royal Air Force.
The coffin then will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery and borne in procession to St Paul’s Cathedral along a route lined by personnel from all branches of the armed forces.
A guard of honor will greet the coffin upon arrival at the cathedral, with military personnel lining the church steps.
While the funeral service will not be open to the public, Downing Street said it would be televised and that mourners can line the route of the funeral procession.
The government said that flags at Downing Street — which flew at half-staff on Monday — will do so again on Tuesday and on the day of the funeral.