Was there ever a more divisive political figure? The death of Margaret Thatcher at the Ritz yesterday prompted both admiring tributes and public rejoicing in London.
Last night, detractors gathered not outside the Ritz, but the Ritzy in Brixton, and the adjoining Windrush Square. The crowd unfurled banners proclaiming ‘The bitch is dead’, while one reveller climbed onto the cinema’s canopy and rearranged the lettering to say ‘Margaret Thatchers dead LOL’. Cheers of “Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead” filled the square. Brixton, of course, was the scene of fierce riots during the first years of Thatcher’s tenure, and anger still runs deep. Meanwhile, a bottle of milk was placed among the flowers outside her Belgravia home, as a reference to the ‘milk snatcher’ sobriquet she attracted when scrapping milk in primary schools. Expect a wave of sardonic street art over the next week.
At the other end of the appreciation spectrum, a funeral with full military honours has been announced. The cortege will move from the Palace of Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral, along a route lined with members of the armed forces. The casket will pause at St Clement Danes (the RAF church) where it will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery. Following the funeral at the cathedral, the Baroness will be cremated in a private service.
The funeral will take place on Wednesday 17 April, Downing Street has confirmed.