UK prepares for Margaret Thatcher's funeral

Queen to attend former prime minister's funeral ceremony with full military honours in London on April 17.

    The funeral of late British PM Margaret Thatcher will be held with full military honours on April 17, with the Queen in attendance, officials have announced.

    Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday that Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, would attend the ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral, which is expected to draw dignitaries from around the globe.

    The ceremony will feature the same level of pomp and honour afforded Princess Diana in 1997 and the Queen Mother Elizabeth in 2002.

    Police, royal and government officials and members of Thatcher's family are coordinating plans for the funeral, an operation that has been given the name True Blue.

    Thatcher's coffin will lie overnight at the Houses of Parliament ahead of the funeral, before being taken by hearse to the church of St Clement Danes and then, on a horse-drawn gun carriage, to the 17th-century cathedral along a route lined by military personnel.

    Thousands of people are expected to line the route through central London, and the queen and David Cameron, UK prime minister, will be joined by dignitaries from around the world inside the cathedral.

    The televised funeral will be followed by a private cremation.

    Early on Tuesday, undertakers removed Thatcher's body from London's Ritz Hotel, where she died on Monday at the age of 87.

    The only other prime minister whose funeral the monarch has attended was that of Britain's World War II leader, Winston Churchill, in 1965.

    Churchill was the last British leader to receive a state funeral, also at St. Paul's. Thatcher's service, a ceremonial funeral with full military honors, is not officially a state funeral, which requires a vote in parliament.

    A van carrying Thatcher's casket left the hotel for an undisclosed location, where her body will remain during preparations for the funeral.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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