Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady

By John Blundell | Go to book overview

23. FAMILY

“They are taking it all in their stride. Whatever comes, they take it.”


Denis

“I couldn’t have done it without Denis.”

It is hard to overestimate the support of Denis. As Lady Thatcher said upon his death in 2003, aged 88:

“Being PM is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be — you cannot
lead from a crowd. But with Denis there, I was never alone. What
a man. What a husband. What a friend.”

His secret was twofold: first he did not let being her consort dominate his life — he kept his own interests and his own schedule to some extent; second, he kept his mouth shut. His motto was “always present, never there.” He called journalists “reptiles” and he never gave an interview. However, his patience could be tested; he once terminated a late night press briefing with two loud words from the back of the room: “Margaret — BED!” He loved quoting Mark Twain:

“Better keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it
and remove all doubt.”

In that line the following conversation with the Duchess of York (the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who is the second son of HRH Queen Elizabeth II and fourth in the line of succession to

-173-

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Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • List of Acronyms ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Protocol xiii
  • Table of Contents xv
  • Preface 1
  • Introduction 11
  • 1- Childhood 17
  • 2- University 25
  • 3- Launching 35
  • 4- Elected 45
  • 5- Opposition I 53
  • 6- Education Secretary 63
  • 7- Reflections 71
  • 8- Leader 77
  • 9- Opposition II 83
  • 10- Power 89
  • 11- Liberating the Economy 93
  • 12- Privatizing the Commanding Heights 99
  • 13- Selling off Public Housing 107
  • 14- Going to War 113
  • 15- Beating the Miners 121
  • 16- Reforming the Unions 127
  • 17- Battling the I.R.a 131
  • 18- Befriending America 137
  • 19- Kicking Down the Wall 141
  • 20- Dealing with Brussels 147
  • 21- Resignation 155
  • 22- Retirement 165
  • 23- Family 173
  • 24- Men 181
  • 25- Her World 191
  • 26- Ten Lessons 197
  • Postscript- What Remains to Be Done 207
  • Appendix I- Table of Margaret Thatcher’s Elections* 209
  • Appendix II- General Election Results from 1945 -2005 210
  • Further Reading 211
  • Index 213
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