Margaret Thatcher was a famous world leader and British politician, born on October 13, 1925. She was best known as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for over 10 years and as the leader of the Conservative Party for 15. Thatcher was an adept politician and became the first female British Prime Minister. Her nickname “Iron Lady” is a testament to her strong will and even stronger dedication to her beliefs. She was, undoubtedly, an uncompromising leader worth remembering. Today, we commemorate her birthday and review her historical impact.
Margaret Hilda Thatcher
October 13, 1925
April 8, 2013 (age 87)
Margaret Thatcher was born Margaret Hilda Roberts on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Her father was Alfred Roberts, her mother was Beatrice Ethel, and she was of English and Irish descent. In her youth, Thatcher attended Huntingtower Road Primary School, where she won a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School. She was her school’s head girl from 1942 to 1943 and afterward got accepted for a scholarship to study chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1944. However, she enrolled early, in 1943, and graduated in 1947 with a second-class degree in chemistry. In 1950, she obtained her Master of Arts degree. After her graduation, Thatcher worked as a research chemist for BX Plastics.
Thatcher became a barrister in 1953, specializing in taxation. In 1970, she got appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science. Her appointment came from The Conservative Party leader, Edward Heath. In 1975, she became the Conservative Party leader and the first woman to ever be in a directive position in a major political party in the U.K. Following a call for a general election after the Callaghan ministry’s motion of no confidence loss in 1979, the Conservatives won a 44-seat majority in the House of Commons, thus making Thatcher the first female British Prime Minister. During her time in such a position, Thatcher introduced several economic policies to reduce Britain’s high inflation. She privatized state-owned companies and reduced the power of trade unions. She was re-elected in 1983 and again in 1987. Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister and the Conservative Party leader in 1990, retiring from the House of Commons in 1992. She received the life peerage as Baroness Thatcher soon after.
Thatcher was a pioneer whose personal life was under wraps. She married Sir Denis Thatcher in 1951, and they had two children. She died at the age of 87, on April 8, 2013, after suffering a stroke. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh attended her funeral. Thatcher lived a full life. She received two honorary distinctions as Prime Minister, was appointed Member of the Order of Merit by the Queen, and has a day dedicated to her honor — Margaret Thatcher Day, on January 10.
Heath appoints Thatcher to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science.
Thatcher wins the Conservative Party leadership election and becomes the Leader of the Opposition.
Thatcher becomes the first female British Prime Minister after a 44-seat majority in the House of Commons.
Thatcher wins her second re-election and is once again appointed as the Prime Minister.
Why We Love Margaret Thatcher
She was pragmatic
Thatcher was a pragmatic leader. She executed her duties seamlessly and efficiently.
She was smart
Thatcher was an intelligent politician. She was well-educated and was never afraid to show it.
She was respected
As Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Thatcher was well respected and revered. She was a pioneer who achieved greatness.
5 Surprising Facts
She played an instrument
Thatcher played the piano in school.
She had twins
Thatcher’s children, Carol and Mark, are twins.
She survived an assassination attempt
Thatcher survived an attack on her life by the Provisional I.R.A. in the 1984 Brighton hotel bombing.
She opened a university
As a former education secretary, Thatcher oversaw the building of the University of Buckingham and later served as its chancellor from 1992 to 1998.
She had dementia
Thatcher had dementia and often forgot her husband, Denis, was dead.
Margaret Thatcher FAQs
Did the Queen like Margaret Thatcher?
Thatcher and the Queen developed a mutual respect.
What is Margaret Thatcher best known for?
Thatcher is best known as the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century.
Who succeeded Margaret Thatcher?
John Major succeeded Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher’s birthday dates