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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Lady Thatcher bids Denis farewell
Lady Thatcher stands with her son Mark
More than 100 people attended the funeral
Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher has led 120 mourners to say farewell to her beloved husband Sir Denis.

Looking frail, Lady Thatcher stood with her head bowed at the entrance to the chapel of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea on Thursday as pall bearers carried Sir Denis' coffin, which was draped in the Union flag and topped by roses.

Lady Thatcher's children Carol and Mark put their arms around their mother's waist before slowly following the coffin into the chapel for Sir Denis' funeral.

Sir Denis, 88, died at the Lister Hospital in London on 26 June after a short illness.

He underwent heart surgery in January this year and seemed to be recovering, but had to return to hospital three weeks ago after feeling unwell.

Hospital chaplain, the Rev Richard Whittington, conducted the service, which was followed by a private cremation.

Sir Denis Thatcher's funeral

Sir Denis's old friend Lord Deedes, 90, was among the 120 mourners who attended the funeral.

Also in attendance were members of Lady's Thatcher's former Cabinet, including Lord Parkinson, Lord Wakeham, former Cabinet Secretary Lord Butler and Sir Bernard Ingham, her Downing Street press secretary.

The Last Post was sounded by Royal Artillery bugler Lance Bombardier Martin Hilton, as a mark of respect for Sir Denis, who had served in the Royal Artillery.


Sir Denis's death prompted tributes from across the political spectrum.

Although he had enjoyed success as a millionaire businessman, his public fame owed most to his marriage to Margaret Thatcher.

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

Lady Thatcher and her daughter Carol
Carol Thatcher waves goodbye to her father
Lady Thatcher said of her husband in her autobiography, "The Downing Street Years": "I could never have been prime minister for more that eleven years without Denis by my side.

"He was a fund of shrewd advice and penetrating comment. And he very sensibly saved these for me rather than the outside world."

Sir Denis is said to have been the key influence in persuading his wife to bow out of public speaking after she suffered a series of slight strokes.

She has defied doctors, however, by attending a number of functions.

The couple were married for more than 50 years.


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