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How Thatcher began life and rose to the top

Timeline on the life of former British prime minister, who died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.

Last Modified: 08 Apr 2013 14:44
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Margaret Thatcher was Britain's first female prime minister and both friends and foes called her 'Iron Lady' [AP]

1925 - October 13: Margaret Hilda Roberts is born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the second child of Beatrice Stephenson Roberts and grocer and Alderman Alfred Roberts.

1946: Elected as the first female president of the Oxford University Conservative Association.

1947- June: Completes her degree, graduating with second-class honours.

1951- December: Marries divorcee Denis Thatcher.

1952: Begins legal training and resigns as a candidate for Dartford.

1953- August 15: Twins Carol and Mark Thatcher are born.

1958- July: Selected as the Conservative candidate for Finchley.

1959- October 8: Elected as MP for outlawed in 1948.

1970- June: Conservatives win the general election and Thatcher is appointed secretary of state for education and Science.

1971 - June: Introduced legislation to abolish free milk for primary schoolchildren, earning her the moniker ‘Margaret Thatcher the milk snatcher’ .

1975- February 11: Thatcher is elected as the Conservative leader.

1979- May 4: Thatcher becomes the country’s first ever female Prime Minister after winning the general election with a majority of 44 seats.

1982- January: Unemployment in the UK hits 3 million as Thatcher’s economic policies of cuts and austerity makes her and her party very unpopular in the opinion polls.

1982- April 2: Argentina invades the British Falkland Islands. Thatcher responds with swift and decisive force, sending a naval force and in just over two months the islands are taken back. Two hundred and fifty-five British servicemen lose their lives along with three islanders.

1983 June: Returned to power with a landslide majority bolstered by the Falklands war and the economic recovery.

1984- March: Takes on the miners in a bitter industrial dispute over the proposal to close pits, strikes last for a year with violent clashes between the miners and the police.

1984- October 12: An IRA bomb goes off at the Grand Hotel in Brighton during the Conservative Party conference. Five are killed and thirty left injured but Thatcher is unharmed.

1987- June 11: Thatcher is re-elected for an historic third term and becomes the longest continuously serving prime minister since 1812.

1990- March 31: Community charge, or ‘poll tax’ riot in Trafalgar Square causes deep unpopularity for Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party

1990- November: In November 1990, after her controversial policies, Thatcher loses her support from her party as she is "asked" to resign after not securing enough votes to defeat a leadership challenge. Thatcher resigns as prime minister and is replaced by John Major.

1992- June: Thatcher enters the House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher.

1997: Thatcher backs William Hague who wins the Conservative party leadership. Labour goes on to win in a landslide election.

2003- June 26: Denis Thatcher dies at the age of 88. The Conservative central office decides to lower their union flag as a mark of respect.

2004- June 11: Thatcher attends the former US President Ronald Reagan’s funeral. Reagan was seen as Thatcher’s political soulmate. Thatcher prerecords a eulogy and tribute for Reagan, despite having being advised by her doctors to give up public speaking.

2005- October: Celebrates her 80th birthday with a dinner in a London Hotel, attended by 650.

2010– October: Misses her 85th birthday party, hosted in Downing Street by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, because of poor health.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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