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Margaret Thatcher, the only female prime minister in Britain’s history, died on April 8 at age 87.
Lady Thatcher directed Britain’s Conservative Party between 1975 and 1990 and built herself a reputation as an unwavering leader throughout her political career.
Prime Minister David Cameron remembered her as “an extraordinary leader and an extraordinary woman,” CNN reported.
“Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, paid tribute to Margaret Thatcher’s achievements but at the same time pointed out he disagreed with many of her decisions.”
“‘Whatever your view of her, Margaret Thatcher was a unique and towering figure,’ he said, and a ‘prime minister who defined her age.’”
Other dignitaries were also quoted in the article with a mixture of praise and criticism, such as the Liberal Democrat party’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who said that “it’s impossible to deny the indelible imprint Margaret Thatcher made both on the nation and the wider world.”
Leaders from around the globe also paid their respects.
“Tributes poured in from past and present leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, as well as British political leaders and Queen Elizabeth II,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The newspaper added: “Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, with whom Mrs. Thatcher formed a close relationship, said in a statement on the Gorbachev Foundation’s website: ‘Thatcher was a politician whose words carried big weight.’
“‘Our first meeting in 1984 laid ground to the relationship that was at times complex, but always even and on both sides serious and responsible,’ Mr. Gorbachev said. ‘In the end we managed to achieve mutual understanding, and this was a contribution to the changing atmosphere between our country and the West, and to the end of the Cold War,’ he said.”
During her 11-year tenure as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, Mrs. Thatcher became known as the “Iron Lady” because of her strong anti-communism stance alongside then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan. She was also an advocate of limited government and individual liberties.
“Together, Thatcher and Reagan represented the West in the Cold War and did much to ensure that it did not end with nuclear devastation,” CBS Denver stated. “Thatcher and Reagan also did a great deal to show that free market values could help economies and did a great deal to bring both of their countries out of deep recessions.”
Considered one of the world’s most influential and controversial leaders, Lady Thatcher “often credited her father with introducing her to politics,” according to NPR reporter Jackie Northam. “She said he instilled in her the importance of being an independent thinker and of being able to stand on her own two feet—values that she expected from all Britons once she gained power.”