Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (née Roberts, October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990.

Thatcher was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office. A Soviet journalist called her the “Iron Lady”, a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

Originally a research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition and became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

Thatcher became Prime Minister on May 4, 1979. Arriving at 10 Downing Street, she said, in a paraphrase of the prayer Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace:

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.