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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Denis Thatcher: Key quotations
Sir Denis Thatcher usually kept quiet during his wife's years in Downing Street, but here are some of the utterances which did go public.

On being a prime minister's consort: "Always present, never there."

On losing his spectacles: "It would be fine if the housemaid didn't keep moving them around. I've said to her a hundred times before she tidies up to either leave them where they are or put them on the mantelpiece. She still insists on hiding them away."

Asked about his wife being ill and stopping public speaking: "She'll be all right as long as she listens to us. She's been told twice, so this is her last chance."

On his wife winning the confidence vote that fell Callaghan's government: "Hooray" - a remark which earned him a reprimand from the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms.

Warning people about gifts of heavy statues: "When I was at Burmah Oil, the Government of Burma gave us two ten-ton statues. I'd much prefer a fountain pen myself."

On receiving an honorary degree from the University of Buckingham for being an "English gentleman". "It is an honour that I have neither earned nor deserved."

On the perils of speaking in public: "Better keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt."

On marriage: "For 40 years I have been married to one of the greatest women the world has ever produced. All I could produce, small as it may be, was love and loyalty."

Golfing friend Lord Deedes on Sir Denis: "Denis, the calmest man I know ... He's calm, that is, as long as the bacon at breakfast is to his taste."


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