Thatcher's funeral: a fitting send-off for the Iron Lady?
St Paul's ceremony undisturbed by protesters - we Brits don't go in for 'shrieking at coffins'
MARGARET THATCHER'S funeral was an "extraordinary" event - part ceremony and part celebration, says one commentator. Others write that the best of Britain was on display as the "silent majority" honoured Thatcher during her ceremonial funeral procession and service at St Paul's Cathedral without being disturbed by "adolescent" protesters. Here's what writers and attendees had to say about yesterday's event:
Matthew Parris in the Times: "'Extraordinary' was the word. Nobody could find a better one as we fumbled for language that would do justice to the theatre, the sentiment and the show, without involving (except for close family) anything that you could honestly call mourning. Was it really a funeral? Was it a celebration? Was it a display? Was it a stupendous social occasion?"
Dominic Sandbrook in the Daily Mail: "For days, hard-Left agitators had boasted that they would turn her final journey into a gigantic shriek of adolescent rage. They would, they swore, drown out the solemn obsequies inside St Paul's and embarrass Britain in the eyes of the world. But I was wrong to worry. For after all the tasteless, infantile antics of the past week, yesterday belonged to the silent majority."
Tony Parsons in the Daily Mirror: "If there were a small number of protesters, it was not because she was universally loved but because the British don't really go in for shrieking at coffins. There is a time and place for chanting, "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead," but – ironically! – this was not it. Despite all the predictions of a riot, it was a funeral with no real hatred and no real love."
Martin Kettle in the Guardian: "She will be talked about for generations. But her attempt to bequeath a political settlement for the ages is as doomed as Wren's [the man who built St Paul's]. It is a folly, just like her funeral. It is Downton Abbey politics. Her funeral marks an end not a beginning. Thatcherism will not rise again, any more than she will."
Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph: "Certainly the deeply moving event brought some kind of closure to the brutal rifts which tore the Conservative Party apart towards the end of the last century. I am less convinced that it brought closure to the national divisions which the Thatcher premiership left in its wake."
Giles Fraser in the Guardian: "Was the service "too political"? That was always going to be the question. But how could it have been otherwise? It was never going to be straightforward to distinguish Margaret Thatcher the person from Margaret Thatcher the politician. Apart from Denis, she was all politics. And the service inevitably reflected this."
Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail: "The funeral ceremonial was pitch-perfect, solemn but beautiful and uplifting, and choreographed and staged with flawless precision. This after all is what Britain still does so well. So much so that some foolish folk have allowed themselves to get carried away and claim that this shows Britain essentially still remains the same great country it always was. What a short attention span such individuals must have."