Thousands of people lined the streets of central London on Wednesday to witness the elaborate funeral procession of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Mrs. Thatcher’s flag-draped coffin was transported by horse-drawn gun carriage to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where world leaders and dignitaries from 170 countries waited.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were among the 2,300 people gathered for the somber service, which followed a traditional Anglican liturgy.
The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, remembered the late leader as a “wife, mother, and grandmother” during a brief tribute that focused more on her personal character than her political legacy.
More than 4,000 police were deployed in London as part of a security operation that was increased following Monday’s deadly bomb attacks in Boston.
Mrs. Thatcher died from a stroke nine days ago at the age of 87. Britain’s first and only female prime minister, she became one of the country’s most influential modern-day leaders during her time in office from 1979 to 1990.
Dubbed the Iron Lady, Mrs. Thatcher was a stern conservative who broke the power of British unions, eliminated many government subsidies and enabled a far greater role for private enterprise.
She led Britain through its 1982 war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, strongly opposed European integration and built a close “special relationship” with U.S. President Ronald Reagan that helped spur the downfall of Soviet communism.
She leaves behind a divisive legacy in Britain. During her funeral Wednesday, some of her political opponents held a demonstration along the route of her funeral procession, turning away in protest as her coffin passed by.
She was given a funeral with full military honors – a step short of a state funeral – in accordance with the wishes of her family. The event is thought to be London’s most significant political funeral since the death of ex-Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
The chimes of London’s historic Big Ben were silenced for the duration of the funeral service. Flags were placed at half staff at government buildings across the country.
Other guests at the service included British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as prime ministers from 11 other countries. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney also attended.