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The Iron Lady bid a tearful farewell to her beloved husband yesterday, as a funeral service for Denis Thatcher was held in London. Margaret bowed to the coffin, draped in a Union flag, as it passed into the chapel of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.

A bugler from his old army unit, the Royal Artillery Regiment, performed the Last Post and Reveille for the former soldier, whose gallantry was noted in company despatches during World War II.

In keeping with the family's wishes, it was a small, private service with 120 close friends and loved ones. Baroness Thatcher was blinking behind her veil, but the 77-year-old maintained her composure throughout, as tributes were paid to the man she described as "the golden thread" running though her life. Her son Mark stood by her side, offering words of comfort to the widow.

Old family friend Sir Bernard Ingham and former Conservative Party Chairman Lord Parkinson also came along to pay their respects.

"I know the litmus test of a good funeral is whether the deceased would have liked it," said Sir Denis' daughter Carol afterwards. "And he'd have been so chuffed with this."

After the service the mourners took tea in the Royal Hospital Hall, before the family moved on to a private cremation service.

Photo: ©
Baroness Thatcher, with her children Mark and Carol by her side, watches as Denis' coffin is carried into the chapelPhoto: © AFP
Photo: ©
Chelsea pensioners form a guard of honour for the former soldierPhoto: © AFP

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