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A life in pictures: Britain's first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was the first woman to become Prime Minister in 1979, went on to make further history with three consecutive terms in Downing Street, and quickly won herself the title of The Iron Lady for her uncompromising style. 

Baroness Thatcher has died, aged 87.  Her son, Sir Mark, and daughter Carol announced that their mother had passed away "with great sadness" after suffering a stroke.

She will be remembered for being one of the most influential political figures of the 20th century, for her tough action against Argentina over the Falkland Islands, her part in ending the Cold War,  and for her famous phrase "The Lady's not for turning".

We take a look back at Lady Thatcher's life in pictures and her rise to becoming Britain's first and only female prime minister – and the longest-serving of the 20th century...

Pictured here with her parents and her older sister, Muriel, in 1945. Born the daughter of a grocer in 1925, Margaret Thatcher spent her childhood in Grantham, Lincolnshire, where her father owned two grocery shops and was active in local politics 

The British Conservative Party leader, aged 49, posing in the kitchen of her Chelsea home in London following her 11 February 1975 election as the head of the Tory party 

Wife and mum of two, Margaret Thatcher in her home with her husband Denis, son Mark and daughter Carol, marking the occasion of her Silver Wedding anniversary 

Margaret Thatcher talking to troops in the Falklands in 1983. After the war was won, her popularity soared and she won a landslide 

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, nee Roberts, Conservative Prime Minister throws her arms in the air in celebration at the Tory Party Conference in 1985 

Following a state dinner given in her honour at the White House, Margaret dances with her close friend and political ally, former US President Ronald Reagan 

Nelson Mandela and Lady Margaret Thatcher shake hands on the steps of No 10 Downing Street on Independence Day 

Margaret Thatcher watches as the coffin of her husband Sir Denis Thatcher is taken from The Royal Hospital Chapel on 3 July, 2003 in London. Sir Denis died aged 88, following a heart bypass. They were married for 52 years until Denis's death 

Baroness Margaret Thatcher with some of her former cabinet including her successor as leader of the Conservative Party, John Major, in front of a newly unveiled bronze statue of herself. Lady Margaret was the first living ex-Prime Minister to be honoured in such a way by the Commons 

Lady Margaret Thatcher courtseys to the Queen who arrives for the former prime minister's 80th birthday party at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in central London in 2005.

On hearing the news of Lady Thatcher's death today, a statement from Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family." 

Margaret Thatcher waving to the press at her home, having spent 12 days in The Cromwell Hospital after suffering from the Flu in November 2010. The month before she had missed a party at Downing Street on October 14 to celebrate her 85th birthday due to her illness.

The formidable former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died today, aged 87 

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