A card in Chester Square in London reads “RIP Maggie Thatcher. The greatest British leader and a true lady.” Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.
World leaders paid tribute to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the day of her death Monday, calling her a “formidable” leader and “champion of freedom and liberty.” Other comments showed the controversy surrounding some of her decisions.
Family spokesman Tim Bell said Thatcher died peacefully Monday morning at age 87 after a stroke.
President Obama described the impact she had on Americans in a statement posted by the White House:
>”With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.
“Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history — we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life — free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the following comments Monday while in The Hague:
“She was a pioneering leader for her contribution to peace and security, particularly at the height of the Cold War. She was also a great model as the first woman Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who not only demonstrated her leadership but has given such great hope for many women for equality, gender equality in Parliament. We will owe a great deal to her leadership. I hope that her leadership will inspire many people around the world for peace and security and human rights.”
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, with whom Thatcher had close ties, called her “a politician whose words carried big weight,” according to the Wall Street Journal:
“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. 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.”
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, quoted in the Belfast Telegraph said “she did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British prime minister”:
“Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies. Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and 81. Her Irish policy failed miserably.”
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny called Thatcher “a formidable political leader who had a significant impact on British, European and world politics”:
“While her period of office came at a challenging time for British-Irish relations, when the violent conflict in Northern Ireland was at its peak, Mrs. Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement which laid the foundation for improved North-South cooperation and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement.”
Current UK Prime Minister and leader of Thatcher’s Conservative Party David Cameron said:
“We’ve lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton. Her legacy will be the fact that she served her country so well, and she saved our country and she showed immense courage in doing so, and people will be learning about what she did and her achievements in decades, probably centuries to come.”
Thatcher also was remembered in tweets:
I send my deep condolences to Lady Thatcher’s family, in particular Mark and Carol Thatcher. bit.ly/14Rkijg
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) April 8, 2013
Read Tony Blair’s statement on Baroness Thatcher here: bit.ly/10L355S
— Tony Blair Office (@tonyblairoffice) April 8, 2013
The Iron Lady was a champion for freedom and individual liberty and her consequential leadership made the world a better place.
— Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann) April 8, 2013
We’re deeply saddened at the loss of Margaret Thatcher.While the Iron Lady is sadly gone, her iron will, her… fb.me/xw6EiaYl
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) April 8, 2013
There was no secret to Lady Thatcher’s values – hard work & personal responsibility – & no nonsense in her leadership j.mp/10LaFOH
— Speaker John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatcher was an outstanding politician. Her political views invited varied opinions but her political will commanded respect
— Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE) April 8, 2013
Manchester United says there won’t be minute of silence for Margaret Thatcher ahead of the match today. bit.ly/17mWe7o
— Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) April 8, 2013
NewsHour anchors Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer interviewed Thatcher in February 1981:
- In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher, ‘Iron Lady’ of British Politics, Dies
- Read key documents from Thatcher’s career at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
- The National Archives posted photos of the “Iron Lady”.
- The Telegraph and the Guardian have more reactions.
On Monday’s PBS NewsHour, senior correspondent Judy Woodruff talked to two former secretaries of state, George Shultz and James Baker, about their work with Thatcher. She then spoke with Canada’s Prime Minister Kim Campbell about Thatcher’s global influence. You can watch those interviews here. Browse all of our World coverage.