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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Thatcher Remembered with Reverence and Protest

A divided Britain expressed grief and anger over the death of the iconic Prime Minister.

Wednesday's funeral for Margaret Thatcher, the UK's first female Prime Minister and most iconic political figure in postwar Britain, was met with commensurate amounts of bile and admiration appropriate to the polarizing life of Britain's "Iron Lady."

The procession route, lined with tens of thousands of mourners, featured bouts of reverent applause competing with boos and protest signs.

The service itself, which reportedly coast 10 million pounds ($15 million) was rife with pomp and ceremony, as the Queen, the last four Prime Ministers, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney paid their respects to the politician at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.

Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990, grew to define British conservatism, implementing policies that became known as "Thatcherism," promoting deregulation, privatization, reduced government spending, and individualism. She was closely allied with Ronald Reagan in issues of foreign policy, and shared ideological ties to the American president.

Many have associated her tenure as PM with the re-establishment of Britain's global status and a positive rebuild of the British economy, as the period was characterized by massive increases in personal wealth.

But Thatcher's tenure sharply divided the country, as it also featured dramatic cuts to government assistance, high unemployment, an increased wealth gap, and violent popular demonstrations.

Her many supporters remember her as a woman of principle, whose emphasis on personal freedom and individualism defined the strength of the British people. Her detractors remember her, in the words of musician and political activist Morrissey, as "a terror without an atom of humanity".

She is survived by her daughter Carol, son Mark, and grandchildren Michael and Amanda.

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