The life and times of Margaret Thatcher

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 April, 2013, 9:25pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 April, 2013, 3:30am

A chronology of the life of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, who died on Monday aged 87:

The path to power

October 13, 1925: Margaret Hilda Roberts is born in Grantham, England.

October 1943: Begins chemistry degree at Oxford University.

December 13, 1951: Marries businessman Denis Thatcher.

August 15, 1953: Birth of twin children Carol and Mark.

October 8, 1959: Harold Macmillan’s Conservative Party comes to power. Thatcher elected Conservative member of parliament for Finchley, north London.

October 15, 1964: Re-elected despite Labour Party victory; becomes in turn opposition spokeswoman on pensions, then housing, treasury (deputy to finance spokesman), energy, transport and education.

June 19, 1970: Conservatives regain power; Thatcher appointed education and science secretary.

February 11, 1975: Thatcher elected Conservative leader after party enters opposition.

June 5, 1975: 67.2 per cent of Britons vote in favour of remaining in European Community; Thatcher campaigned for “yes” camp.

May 3, 1979: Conservatives win election landslide after financial, social problems of Labour government; Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female prime minister.

In office

April 2, 1982: Argentina’s military junta invades Falkland Islands; a furious Thatcher sends troops and ships to recapture them.

June 14, 1982: Argentina surrenders; Thatcher’s popularity soars.

June 9, 1983: Thatcher leads Conservatives to re-election.

March 12, 1984: Coal miners’ strike begins in northern England; drags on for a year before miners accept sweeping pit closures.

June 25-26, 1984: Britain wins rebate on its European Community budget contributions.

October 12, 1984: Irish Republican Army bombs Thatcher’s hotel at Conservative annual conference in Brighton, southern England; she escapes injury but five others are killed.

November 20, 1984: State-owned British Telecom is privatised.

December 16, 1984: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meets Thatcher; afterwards she calls him as a man she “can do business with”.

December 19, 1984: Thatcher signs joint declaration to return Hong Kong to China in July 1997.

June 11, 1987: Thatcher leads Conservatives to third straight term in office.

March 31, 1990: Riots in central London lead to demise of much-despised local community charge on property or “poll tax”.

August 9, 1990: Thatcher commits Britain to US-led war with Iraq after dictator Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.

November 28, 1990: Resigns after revolt amongst Conservatives over Europe policy.


June 30, 1992: Takes her place in the upper House of Lords as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.

February 5, 1994: Becomes chancellor of College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, the oldest university in the United States after Harvard.

May 1997: Endorses young protege William Hague as he becomes new Conservative leader.

March 26, 1999: Pays controversial visit to right-wing former Chilean president Augusto Pinochet, held under house arrest outside London as he faced extradition to Spain on human rights charges.

March 22, 2002: Doctors, worried by a string of small strokes, order Thatcher to cease public speaking on health grounds.

June 26, 2003: Husband Denis Thatcher dies.

June 11, 2004: Attends funeral in Washington for former US president and ideological soul mate Ronald Reagan, who she hails in a video-taped eulogy as a great American who “won the cold war”.

October 13, 2005: Celebrates her 80th birthday with a party at a chic London hotel with Queen Elizabeth II among the guests.

December 7, 2005: Hospitalised for a night in London after complaining of feeling faint. Daughter Carol later reveals Thatcher suffers from memory loss.

March 7, 2008: Spends night in hospital after feeling unwell at a parliamentary function.

June 2009: Spends two weeks in hospital after breaking left arm in a fall at home.

June 8, 2010: After winning the May general election, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes her back to Downing Street for a reception in her honour.

October 14, 2010: Misses her 85th birthday party at Downing Street with flu before being admitted to hospital with an infection.

December 20, 2012: Admitted to hospital after procedure to remove a growth from her bladder.

April 8, 2013: Dies aged 87 following a stroke.


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