Baroness Thatcher has died at the age of 87 following a stroke, her family announced today.
As tributes poured in to the former premier, it was announced that she will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Downing Street gave details of the event after the Tory former prime minister died this morning. She had been in ill health for several years and was rarely seen in public in recent years.
The Queen was said to be ‘sad’ at news of her death and Prime Minister David Cameron praised her as a ‘great leader’ and a ‘great Briton’.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Mrs Thatcher had been one of the ‘defining figures in modern British politics’.
A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘We can announce that, with the Queen’s consent, Lady Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours.
‘The service will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral. A wide and diverse range of people and groups with connections to Lady Thatcher will be invited.
‘The service will be followed by a private cremation.
‘All the arrangements being put in place are in line with wishes of Lady Thatcher’s family. Further details will be published over the coming days.’
Mr Cameron is returning early from an official trip to Spain after the news of Baroness Thatcher’s death was announced by her spokesman, Lord Bell. She is understood to have been recuperating at the Ritz Hotel in London after a minor operation.
Baroness Thatcher earned a place in the history books as the first woman prime minister when she entered Downing Street in 1979.
Over the next 11 years even her critics admitted that she changed the face of the country.
She suffered several small strokes in 2002, and received medical advice against accepting any more public speaking engagements.
Her increasingly frail condition when she was seen - especially after the death of husband, Denis, in 2003 - led to frequent bouts of speculation about her health.
However, MPs and friends who saw her regularly said she remained alert and interested in politics.
Portmsouth North’s Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘Margaret Thatcher was a truly incredible woman and she is someone that I personally aspire as she was a strong woman who stood by her policies. It is a sad day and many people will be paying tributes.
‘When I was trying to get into Parliament, she was supportive and when I finally got it, she wrote me a letter, from her personally, congratulating me. That was the sort of person she was.
‘I remember one time when I met her and she had quite a character and a wicked sense of humour. One of the last times I saw before the 2010 election, she said to me: “You better win.” and that was her great character.’
The leader of Fareham Borough Council, councillor Seán Woodward tweeted: ‘Margaret Thatcher, our greatest PM who transformed the UK for the better. She cannot be equalled and will be greatly mourned by me and many.’
While Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage tweeted: ‘Thoughts & prayers to family of Baroness Thatcher on their sad loss. She was very kind to me as a candidate and a good friend to Gosport.’
Fareham Borough Council announced it will be flying the flag outside the Civic Offices at half-mast until Baroness Thatcher’s funeral.
Read More: · Margaret Thatcher Obituary