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Thatcher funeral fitting tribute to political giant - press

UK: The funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher transcended the bitter row over her legacy and was an appropriate tribute to a woman whose radical vision permanently changed Britain, newspapers said Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth II led mourners from the British establishment and 170 countries in bidding farewell to the Iron Lady, in a funeral brimming with military pageantry and pockets of protests.

"R.I.P. Mrs T", said the headline of popular tabloid The Sun at the bottom of a double-page photograph showing military pallbearers carrying Thatcher's coffin into London's St Paul's Cathedral. "They came in their thousands to mark the passing of a political giant," said its leading article.

"But most of all they came to deliver a simple message. Despite all the pomp and circumstance, at the end of the day she was always one of us".

The Daily Mail, a staunch Thatcher supporter, carried a picture of the former leader's daughter, Carol, in tears with the words "Goodbye Mummy" written beneath.

Its editorial called the day a "magnificent finale befitting the Lady" in which "the huge majority of the British people...gave her in death the honour and gratitude she so richly deserved in life". The Times, owned by Thatcher backer Rupert Murdoch, had a wrap-around front cover of the funeral cortege and carried a glowing eulogy inside.

"The country lays to rest not just a major stateswoman but also the conflict of her era," said its editorial.

"It is worth noting not how much of her legacy divides the nation, but how much unites it." The paper said that only "governments of historic significance" permanently alter perceptions, and argued Thatcher had achieved this as few in British politics today supported a return to nationalised utilities. "The main parties differ markedly on their attitudes to labour market regulation but nobody wants to go back to the circumstances of the winter of 1978," it added.

AFP

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