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Thatcher to be honored with state funeral

Thatcher to be honored with state funeral
Baroness Margaret Thatcher leaves the Cabinet War Rooms after the Royal opening of the William Churchill museum on the 40th anniversary of his death in London on February 10, 2005. (UPI Photo/Hugo Philpott) | License Photo

LONDON, July 12 (UPI) -- The British government has decided that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is to have a state funeral when her time comes, officials said.

Winston Churchill, who headed the British government during World War II, was the only prime minister to be honored with a state funeral in the 20th century. Four leaders -- Admiral Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, who were the great military leaders of the Napoleonic Wars, and two prime ministers, Henry Palmerston and William Gladstone -- had 19th century state funerals.

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Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Buckingham Palace have been discussing the arrangements not because of any immediate concern for Thatcher's health, The Daily Mail said, but because a state funeral would involve Queen Elizabeth II. Sir Malcolm Ross, who supervised the funeral of Princess Diana and kept funeral plans for the Queen Mother in his briefcase for 17 years, is in charge.

Thatcher -- who led Britain 1979 to 1990 -- selected St. Paul's Cathedral for her funeral service. The cathedral was also used for Churchill's funeral.

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