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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 15:35 GMT
Thatchers celebrate 50 years together
News that former prime minister Margaret Thatcher is celebrating her golden wedding anniversary was greeted with a mixture of congratulations and irreverance in the Commons on Thursday.

Baroness Thatcher married husband Dennis in a methodist chapel in the Kings Cross area of London on 13 December 1951.


Anybody who has managed to stay together for that length of time knows that it won't all have been a bed of roses

Relate spokeswoman
Shadow leader of the house Eric Forth urged fellow MPs to join him in congratulating the former Tory premier and her husband.

He asked MPs to join him in "wishing them many years of happiness together" and paid particular tribute to Sir Dennis "without whom Thatcherism would never have been possible".

Mr Forth's remarks prompted a less generous comment from Labour MP Kevin Hughes who said that anyone who had been married to Baroness Thatcher for that long "deserves a medal as big as a dustbin lid".

During the 1980s Sir Dennis was ever-present at the side of his wife as she toured the world stage.

Party

The couple are marking the occasion of their anniversary with a cocktail party for 150 friends at the East India club before going on to a family dinner at the Ritz.

Dennis and Margaret Thatcher
The Thatchers at Chequers when she was prime minister
News of the Thatchers's long marriage drew congratulation from Relate - the organisation that offers a variety of services to help people in relationships.

A spokeswomen said that the secret to longevity in a relationship was often "tolerating each other through the bad times as well as the good".

"Anybody who has managed to stay together for that length of time knows that it won't all have been a bed of roses - but they deserve hearty congratulations.

"Good on them!"

See also:

06 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Move on from Thatcher - top Tory
09 Oct 01 | Conservatives
Conference Tories abandon Thatcher
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