The announcement of a state funeral for Baroness Thatcher was greeted with outrage today after it was revealed the former Prime Minister is actually still quite alive.
Winston Churchill is the only former Prime Minister to have been previously afforded such an honour, although it has been confirmed by Buckingham Palace and government officials involved in the arrangements that unlike Lady Thatcher, Churchill was actually quite dead when he was buried.
The possibility of a formal procession through the streets of London could be jeopardised by fears that the sight of a coffin containing a still very much alive Lady Thatcher might be so popular there would be insufficient troops available to line the route and hold back the crowds.
Overall arrangements for the funeral are being led by Sir Malcolm Ross, the Queen’s former Master of the Royal Household, who has managed every Royal funeral since 1997, including those of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother, both of whom however, were undoubtedly dead when the ceremony took place. It is the first time Sir Malcolm has been asked to organise a funeral for a still-living person and it is thought the protocol for burying someone who was not actually dead could be extremely controversial, no matter how popular the idea might be. A source close to Sir Malcolm said:
We understand how some people may be outraged by the idea of Lady Thatcher receiving a state funeral while she is still alive, but rest assured Sir Malcolm will be taking every measure necessary to ensure the funeral is conducted with sensitivity and her burial alive is treated with the respect expected of someone so deserving.
Several constitutional experts were concerned about the divisive affect the idea of a state funeral for such a controversial living figure might have on public opinion. One explained:
There will be many people who are unhappy with the idea of such a controversial figure such as Lady Thatcher being buried alive in a state funeral with all the pomp that goes with it. Other people will be more than happy with the idea of seeing her prematurely put to rest, state funeral or not, especially considering what she did for the country.
Please feel free to comment – you don’t need to register and I’m extremely minimal with the moderating – so fire away: