The funeral of Baroness Thatcher, the first female UK prime minister, will be along the same lines as those of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Queen Mother.
She has been awarded a ceremonial funeral with military honours which will take place on Wednesday, 17 April, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
It will be the first time the Queen has attended the funeral of a British prime minister since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
On the day before the funeral, Baroness Thatcher’s coffin will be moved to the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster. There will be a short service following its arrival and the coffin will stay there overnight.
On the day itself, the coffin will travel by hearse to the Church of St Clement Danes – the Central Church of the Royal Air Force – on the Strand.
The coffin will then be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by the King’s Troop Royal Artillery and taken in procession from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s Cathedral. The route will be lined by military personnel from all three services.
The Bearer Party of ten members of the armed services will walk alongside the coffin from St Clement Danes to St Paul’s.
Where possible, personnel will be chosen from ships, units and stations connected to those who served during the Falklands Campaign.
The bearers will be taken from:
- Royal Navy/Royal Marines
- Scots Guards
- Welsh Guards
- Royal Artillery
- Royal Engineers
- Parachute Regiment
- Royal Gurkha Rifles
- Royal Air Force
Lining the route
The processional route from St Clement Danes Church, along Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill, will be lined by more than 700 armed services personnel. The services and units represented will be:
- Royal Navy and Royal Marines
- F Company Scots Guards
- 1st Battalion Welsh Guards
- Royal Air Force
- Military bands
There will be three bands along the processional route, whose drums will be covered in black cloth. One of the bands will be the the Band of the Scots Guards of the Household Division, while the other two will be chosen from the Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force.
Steps of St Paul’s
Outside St Paul’s Cathedral there will be a Guard of Honour for the arrival of the coffin made up of members of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and the Welsh Guards Band.
Eighteen more service personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the Blues and Royals, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, and Royal Air Force will line the steps along with pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Inside St Paul’s Cathedral
Details of the service or the clergy involved have not been released, but newspaper reports say the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres, will preach the sermon.
How much will it cost?
No official figure has been given for the estimated overall costs, although newspaper reports suggest it could be up to £10m.
Lady Thatcher’s family is meeting an unspecified amount of the expense, thought to cover transport, flowers and the cremation, with the government funding the rest, including security.
A 2013 House of Commons note on state funerals details some of the costs of the Queen Mother’s ceremonial funeral in 2002.
Policing costs were £4.3m, of which £2.3m were opportunity costs (costs that would be incurred anyway if staff were assigned to other operations). The cost to the Ministry of Defence was much less at £301,000.
Baroness Thatcher’s family has asked well-wishers to consider making a donation to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, rather than giving flowers.