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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 June, 2003, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Sir Denis Thatcher: Your thoughts
Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of Baroness Thatcher has died.

The 88-year-old, who had heart surgery this year, returned to hospital two weeks ago and died at the Lister Hospital in London on Thursday morning.

His motto on the role of prime ministers' consorts was that they should be "always present, never there".

What do you think Sir Denis contributed to public life?


Thank you for your e-mails. This debate is now closed. The following comments reflect the balance of views we received.

I was sorry to hear of Mr Thatcher's death. He always seemed an admirable figure who maintained his sense of humour in the face of Mrs Thatcher's ups and downs. I feel sorry for Mrs Thatcher that she will have to live on without him now, when her own health is poor.
Dinah Bisdee, UK

Behind every great person there is an even greater one. The world will be a duller place without Sir Denis.
Peter van Peborgh-Gooch, UK

He was a man with few words but a man with most intelligence.
Wayne, England

Without him, it is debatable that Britain would never have experienced that matriarchal dominance of the 80s which the society needed and is better of because of it. My sincere thoughts to Baroness Thatcher, to Mark and to Carol.
Christopher Edwards, Wales

A gentleman and an ideal husband
PV Prasada Rao, India
What ever significant place the iron lady acquired in British history, Denis's contribution definitely is no less meaningful. A gentleman and an ideal husband. May his soul rest in peace!
PV Prasada Rao, India

He was an example to us all with his devotion and support to his wife and never once took any credit for her achievements, despite his considerable input. A great man who never abused his position as partner of the prime minister. RIP Sir Denis.
Fred, England

I hope all of these wonderful tributes will be of great comfort to Lady Thatcher in the coming months, as we now see that he was an eccentric who was much appreciated by the British public.
Karen Bullen, England

Sir Denis was one of a few true English gentlemen who, whilst being very clever and astute, had the rare and endearing quality of not making his every thought public. I'm sure he had almost as much to do with the re-launching of the UK into a serious world contender back in the early eighties, as his good lady wife. An example to everyone in how to conduct oneself in public and sadly missed.
David, England

He had style, humour and an understated gravitas
Ian Dunbar, Australia
Sir Denis was - and will remain - the great role model for any consort. He had style, humour and an understated gravitas that others should note and learn from. He will be sadly missed. My deepest condolences to Baroness Thatcher at this sad time.
Ian Dunbar, Australia

Sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Baroness. May God bless her and her family during this time of mourning. Rest in peace Sir Denis.
Humba Makombe, Zimbabwe

He was exactly what a political consort should be - steady, quiet and supportive. I fear now for Mrs Thatcher. She's lost her bedrock man.
Michael Bishop, USA

Raise a G&T to his memory
Bev Nash, USA
Back in the mid 1980s, when I was still a resident in the UK, I was walking around the Westminster area on a day visit from my native Gloucester. Much to my surprise and delight who comes walking down the street but a cheerful and chipper Denis Thatcher, on his own with no security in tow? I wished him a good afternoon. He smiled, nodded, raised his brolly and replied "Good afternoon". That gesture made my day as he had no cause to even notice me. What a gentleman, what a character and what a wonderful support he was for his wife and his country in difficult times. Tonight I sit here in Charlottesville, Va, and raise a G&T to his memory. Bless you Sir Denis, may your drink be always well chilled!
Bev Nash, USA

I met the Thatchers some 14 or 15 years ago, at a reception in Washington. He was a total delight. His wit, his sense of humour, his candour, and his total devotion to his wife was the highlight of the evening. The UK, and indeed the whole world have suffered a terrible loss.
Paul, Tampa, FL. USA

Dear Sir Denis, sadly missed. RIP with a large G&T. He showed the world how to behave properly as the spouse of a PM. Cherie Blair take note!
Eileen, England & proud of it

A fantastic character
Peter McClurg, Scotland
He was the rock which Maggie relied on so much. A fantastic character who will be sorely missed by all Conservative supporters. God bless him for being such a gentleman
Peter McClurg, Scotland

A real gentleman - loyal, refined, eccentric and outspoken. The great husband of a great PM. May God comfort Baroness Thatcher in such a defining moment of her life and may God provide him all the necessary G&Ts. Rest in Peace, Sir Denis.
A. V. Galloni, Italy

About two years ago I bumped into Sir Denis at their local corner shop in Belgravia at about 10 in the morning. He was dressed in a three piece pinstripe suit and bowler hat picking up some things for him and "the boss". He gave me about 15 minutes of his time, just talking and answering questions of whatever me, a total nobody wanted to know. He shall remain in my mind the ideal of a gentleman.
Henry Lamprecht, UK

The spectrum of colour in the blue background of conservatism
Patrick Cooper, Ireland
Sir Denis was the spectrum of colour in the blue background of conservatism for many a long year and will be sadly missed. Although by no means a Tory myself, I always admired Denis standing aside to allow his wife to shine in public, while not diminishing his own qualities in private. Now is not a time for partisan bitterness. Now is a time to uphold a wife and children who have lost a dear husband and father. Their separate controversial natures do not detract from the fact that they must grieve. Go well, Sir Denis. You shall be forever in our memories.
Patrick Cooper, Ireland

A true English gentleman, he will be remembered forever. Thinking of the Baroness in her time of sorrow, May God bless and comfort her.
Jo-Ann Dolan, South Africa

Sir Denis will probably remembered for his love of gin! However, he embodied all that was good and decent about the English people. I would like to extend my sympathies to Lady Thatcher.
Sue Hudson, London, England

I hated the politics of Margaret Thatcher, but I always had a soft spot for Denis. Sadly, his kind is becoming rarer in our increasingly conformist world! Let's hope they've got an ample stock of "refreshment" where he's gone!
John, England

Margaret Thatcher would not have been the Iron Lady without her Iron Man
Kevin Parker, England
I saw the West End stage play "Anyone for Dennis" which was a hoot and was a spin off from the Private Eye "Dear Bill" letters. That will be my lasting memory of him. In truth Margaret Thatcher would not have been the Iron Lady without her Iron Man.
Kevin Parker, England

A true gentleman who was always loyally at the side of a wonderful leader, Baroness Thatcher; he was one half of a partnership of success, achievement and integrity. Sir Denis was an inspiration and his death is a great loss to the nation. Our thoughts are with the Thatcher family.
Andrew Kidd, UK

As someone who is also retired and also enjoys a gin and tonic, I can only imagine the memories and the grief that is presently affecting Lady Thatcher. I am quite sure it was Denis that helped to make Maggie the second greatest Prime Minister of the 20th century.
Peter Hill, UK

Sir Denis contributed enormously to public life simply by supporting his wife. You have to look no further than Cherie Blair, Carole Caplin and Peter Foster to see the great dignity that Sir Denis added to the Prime Minister's office.
John, UK

He had the good sense and self confidence to remain out of the limelight
John R, UK
I guess the most fitting tribute to Sir Denis is that I did not really know much about him. He had the good sense and self confidence to remain out of the limelight and not indulge himself in public with smart throw away comments ( or business deals) that could embarrass his wife.
John R, UK

I met him once and wrote to him to congratulate him on his 70th birthday, pointing out that I was a political opponent of his wife. He wrote back a wonderful letter in his own hand, berating me for supporting a party which "helped bring about" the Winter of Discontent ending up with bodies being unburied etc etc. It was a glorious letter and I treasure it to this day.
Paul Walter, UK

Denis, when you get to the Pearly Gates, have a G&T on me and I'll see you at the 19th hole!
Jon, Southampton

He was a man who set the path for all the new generation of men to look up to. He showed that it was not a weak man that allowed a wife to follow her career, but it was a man that was strong and sure of himself that allowed a women to do what she wanted with the husbands support. Future men have much to thank Denis for, because I am one of the lucky females that has a partner that allows her to have the career she chooses. My thoughts are with his great wife and family.
Sarah Peckett, England

The role of PM's spouse has often been overlooked in the UK, whereas in the US the First Lady traditionally has a far greater presence. That said, I believe that Sir Denis made a great impact on the British people.
If Margaret Thatcher proved that a woman could get to the top, then it was Sir Denis who proved that men can in fact support their wive's careers
Mark,UK
If Margaret Thatcher proved that a woman could get to the top, then it was Sir Denis who proved that men can in fact support their wive's careers. He gave Lady Thatcher not only support but real encouragement, and her achievements are therefore partly attributable to him too. I wish his family all the very best for the future.
Mark Manaton, UK

Remember that it is often complicated for a man to be the spouse of a woman leader. I had a few words with Sir Denis three years ago - seemed to enjoy life, being proud of his wife.
H. Carmel, Denmark

Remembering his caricature portrayed in Spitting Image, brings back happy memories of a loyal supporter and husband to Maggie. Always there, but never controversial or embarrasing to his wife, which says a lot about subsequent residents of No 10.
John Burns, UK

Sir Denis can never be replaced. He offered so much to his country and we are in his debt.
Karl Williamson, UK

I was saddened to hear of the death of Sir Denis Thatcher. I was born in 1982 and until 1990 Mrs Thatcher was the only PM I'd ever known. Sir Denis was a constant fixture at her side and the support he gave her was obvious. For this and his other work the country owes him a debt of gratitude. It is touching that he was awarded a baronetcy, which will now be passed on to his son Mark, continuing Sir Denis' memory.
Andrew Schrader, England

Sir Denis always appeared as the quintessential Englishman. His public image did not, as a somewhat dithering man, is far from congruous with the reality of an astute businessman with a zest for a good investment. He was a sharp witted man, and he will be sadly missed.
Mark Hollingsworth, Australia

Denis' contribution to public life was his support of our greatest prime minister yet. This was done without involving himself in any political controversy. He did not try to steal any of the prime minister's limelight; he was a success in his own right. An example the spouse of our current prime minister could do well to learn from.
Glen, UK

Sir Denis's passing brought back memories of an amazing period in UK politics and society. Sympathies to Baroness Thatcher and her family
Chris, USA - Expat





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