It was an great honour to sit among my fellow Members of Parliament representing the people of Grantham at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher this week.
After the noisy debates of the week since her death, I am glad to say that the service at St Paul’s was completely free of politics. Her family and friends came together with people who had worked with her closely and people, like me, who had admired her from afar, to pay respects and say thank you for the extraordinary life of an extraordinary woman.
A few things stick in my memory. Not just the size of the crowds lining the streets from Westminster to St Paul’s, but the diversity of that crowd including lots of young people who weren’t even alive when she was Prime Minister.
The confidence and clarity of the reading by her granddaughter, whose American accent seemed like a quiet tribute to Margaret Thatcher’s ally and friend, Ronald Reagan.
And at the moment that her coffin was carried out of the door St Paul’s, the sound of the crowd outside giving her three cheers.
People like Margaret Thatcher do not come along very often and it is right that we mark their passing with dignified ceremony. Particularly as we British do such ceremonies so well. Nobody can beat us for the precision of our military parades, the grooming of our horses and the beauty of our choral music.
Margaret Thatcher did Grantham proud through her service as Prime Minister. The Queen did Margaret Thatcher proud by breaking with convention and attending her funeral. And the nation did us all proud by marking her passing in the way it did this week.