On a gray and drizzly day, a horse-drawn gun carriage bore the coffin of Margaret Thatcher, draped in the Union flag, to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a ceremonial funeral that has divided British opinion, much as the former prime minister stirred passions during her lifetime.
A hearse had taken the coffin from Parliament as far as the church of St. Clement Danes near the head of Fleet Street where a military guard placed it on the gun carriage for the solemn cortege to St. Paul’s. Crowds of mostly silent people lined the streets near Parliament Square and along Whitehall ”” one of several major thoroughfares closed to traffic ”” as the hearse passed by with a display of white flowers.
Some 700 military personnel from three services ”” the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force ”” lined Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill leading to St. Paul’s. The honor guard included guardsmen in scarlet tunics and distinctive black bearskin hats on the 24 cathedral steps. Military bands played Bells tolled. Crowds lined the street as the gun carriage passed slowly by, some applauding. The procession moved at 70 paces per minute. Well-wishers threw flowers into the road.