Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest Wednesday with prayers and ceremony, plus cheers and occasional jeers, as Britain paused to remember a leader who transformed the country — for the better according to many, but in some eyes for the worse.
Queen Elizabeth II, current and former prime ministers and representatives from 170 countries were among the mourners attending the funeral.
Security for the funeral — the largest in London for over a decade — was tightened after bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 170.
More than 700 soldiers, sailors and air force personnel formed a ceremonial guard along the route taken by Thatcher’s coffin to the cathedral, and around 4,000 police officers were on duty.
Thousands of supporters and a smaller number of opponents traded shouts and arguments, but there was no serious trouble.
Guests inside the cathedral included Thatcher’s political colleagues, rivals and her successors as prime minister: John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Vice President Dick Cheney were among the American dignitaries, while notable figures from Thatcher’s era included F.W. de Klerk, the last apartheid-era leader of South Africa; former Polish President Lech Walesa, and ex-Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Thatcher’s tenure coincided with – and influenced – the fall of the Berlin Wall and the “Reagan revolution” in the United States. Former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan and onetime Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, both invitees with close ties to Thatcher’s leadership, were kept away from the funeral by age. Argentine Ambassador Alicia Castro declined an invitation amid continuing acrimony over the 1982 Falklands War.