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More than 2,000 invited to Thatcher funeral

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral with military honors will be at at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The ceremony’s scale — and the multimillion-pound cost — has drawn criticism.
Andrew Winning/Reuters
Margaret Thatcher’s funeral with military honors will be at at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The ceremony’s scale — and the multimillion-pound cost — has drawn criticism.

LONDON — Invitations to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral are going out to more than 2,000 celebrities, dignitaries, colleagues, and friends of the late British leader — from former US presidents to “Dynasty” star Joan Collins and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Invitations were being printed Thursday and will be mailed out on Friday.

Thatcher, who died Monday at 87, will be given a funeral with military honors at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday.

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Though not officially a state funeral, it is the grandest such service seen in Britain since the death in 2002 of the Queen Mother Elizabeth.

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Queen Elizabeth II will be among the mourners — the first time the monarch has attended a prime minister’s funeral since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.

The invitation list includes all surviving US presidents, British politicians past and present, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said the list — drawn up by Thatcher’s family, her Conservative Party, and the government — includes representatives of 200 states and organizations with whom Britain has diplomatic relations.

Some most closely associated with her 1979-1990 tenure have said they will not attend. Nancy Reagan will send a representative, and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said poor health prevents him from coming to London.

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Entertainment figures include Collins, Lloyd Webber and his sometime lyricist Tim Rice, novelist Frederick Forsyth, singer Shirley Bassey, “Top Gear” television host ­Jeremy Clarkson, and fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, who made some of Thatcher’s famous handbags.