More than 2,000 global political figures, celebrities and even a couple of Margaret Thatcher’s old foes have been invited to her funeral in London on Wednesday. Here is a rundown of the guest list:
World leaders past and present
- Every surviving US president has been invited.
- Several political giants of Thatcher’s Cold War era are unable to attend due to ill-health. These include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, ex-German chancellor Helmut Kohl and Nancy Reagan, widow of former US president Ronald Reagan.
- Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state, was also sent an invite. Newt Gingrich, the Republican former White House hopeful, has confirmed his attendance.
- Representatives of Nelson Mandela have been invited along with Mandela’s predecessor as South African president, FW De Klerk.
- Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Australian premier John Howard are confirmed guests.
- European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso and Malaysia’s former premier Mahathir Mohamad were also sent invites.
- Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner will be conspicuously absent, having not received an invite. Tensions between London and Buenos Aires have been rising over the Falkland Islands, which Thatcher recaptured in a brief but bloody 1982 war.
Showbiz and media
- Singer Shirley Bassey and actress Joan Collins have confirmed their attendance.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of many of the world’s best-loved musicals, will be there with his lyricist Tim Rice. Actor MICHAEL CRAWFORD, the first man to play the Phantom of the Opera, is also attending.
- Jeremy Clarkson, outspoken presenter of the motoring TV show “Top Gear”, is a confirmed guest, as is author Frederick Forsyth and Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins.
- Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born media tycoon, was invited but has indicated he will not attend.
- Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is attending.
- Advertising baron Maurice Saatchi will be there. His agency oversaw Thatcher’s first winning election campaign in 1979.
- Veteran journalists from Thatcher’s time in power are attending including David Frost, immortalised in Hollywood film “Frost/Nixon”, and Irish presenter Terry Wogan.
- Fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, who has long cited Thatcher as an influence and designed one of her famous handbags, will attend.
The British establishment
- All of Thatcher's surviving cabinet ministers have been invited including Michael Heseltine, whose dramatic challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party led to her ousting in 1990.
- Neil Kinnock, who led the opposition Labour party for much of her term in power, was invited but is unable to attend due to the funeral of an old friend.
- Falklands War veterans are attending. Regiments that played a key role in the 1982 war -- one of the defining events of Thatcher’s era -- will feature prominently in the funeral ceremony.
- The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is leader of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, will give the final blessing.