Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dies

LONDON - Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose conservative ideas made an enduring impact on Britain, has died. She was 87.

MORE IMAGES: Margaret Thatcher: A look back
 
Her former spokesman says Thatcher died this morning of a stroke.
 
Prime Minister David Cameron also expressed sadness, saying "we have lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."

Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II was also sad to hear the news of the death of Margaret Thatcher.

The palace said Monday that the queen will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.

Thatcher, the country's first female prime minister, re-made Britain's economic landscape after coming into office in 1979 with a free-market philosophy and the goal of privatizing state industries. And she would wage some hard-nosed battles with the country's labor unions.
 
Her influence was felt long after she left office in 1990. Tony Blair, whose Labor Party languished in opposition as the Conservative Thatcher held power for more than a decade, ended up adopting many of her views.
 
Thatcher's forceful personality and hard-driving style earned her the nickname of the "Iron Lady." It was a term that was reinforced when she led Britain into war against Argentina in 1982 after the Argentines invaded the Falkland Islands. She forced them to retreat.
 
In 1984, she escaped a brush with terrorism. An I-R-A bomb exploded in a hotel hosting the annual conference of the Conservative Party. It narrowly missed Thatcher, but killed five others.
 
The badly-divided Conservatives eventually pushed her from power in 1990, and the party has struggled since then to regain its footing.
 
In her later years, she grew frail after a series of small strokes, and gave up most public speaking on the advice of her doctors.

UK: Thatcher to receive ceremonial funeral

The British government says former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honors.
 
Thatcher -- known as the "Iron Lady" -- died Monday from a stroke at 87. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a trip to Spain and France upon hearing the news.
 
Downing Street says Queen Elizabeth II has authorized a ceremonial funeral -- a step short of a state funeral -- to be held at St. Paul's Cathedral.
 
It says the funeral will be attended by a "wide and diverse range of people," and the service will be followed by a private cremation.
 
It did not provide further details on the timing of the service, saying only that the arrangement are "in line with the wishes" of Thatcher's family.
 

Memorable quotes from Thatcher:

"There are dangers in consensus: it could be an attempt to satisfy people holding no particular views about anything. ... No great party can survive except on the basis of firm beliefs about what it wants to do." -- Oct. 10, 1968, Conservative Party conference.

 

"Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you tonight in my red chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved ... the Iron Lady of the Western World. Me? A Cold War warrior? Well, yes -- if that is how they wish to interpret my defense of values of freedoms fundamental to our way of life." Jan. 31, 1976.

 

"You turn if you want to; the lady's not for turning." -- Conservative Party Conference, Oct. 10, 1980.

 

"When you've spent half your political life dealing with humdrum issues like the environment, it's exciting to have a real crisis on your hands." -- May 14, 1982, commenting on the Falkland Islands war.

 

 "We fought to show that aggression does not pay and that the robber cannot be allowed to get away with his swag. We fought with the support of so many throughout the world. ... Yet we also fought alone." -- July 3, 1982, on the Falkland Islands war.

 

"I was asked whether I was trying to restore Victorian values. I said straight out I was. And I am." July 21, 1983, speech to British Jewish Community.

 

"There is no week, nor day, nor hour, when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their supreme confidence in themselves, and lose their roughness and spirit of defiance. Tyranny may always enter -- there is no charm or bar against it." -- July 19, 1984, during the coal miners' strike.

 

"We can do business together." Dec. 17, 1984, speaking of Mikhail Gorbachev.

 

"No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money as well." Jan. 6, 1986, television interview.

 

"There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families." Oct. 31, 1987, magazine interview.

 

"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing." -- May 3, 1989, commenting on her 10th anniversary as prime minister.

 

"I am not immortal, but I've got a lot left in me yet." -- Sept. 9, 1990.

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