Thursday, 24 April 2014

Thatcher's death did not unite the British, says Czech ambassador

18 April 2013

London, April 17 (CTK) - The death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher did not unite the nation, Czech ambassador to London Michael Zantovsky told CTK after Thatcher's funeral that he attended Wednesday.

Zantovsky recalled that the Czech nation was united after the death of former president Vaclav Havel 16 months ago.

"Her opponents remained her opponents and they demonstrated it even after her death," Zantovsky said about Baroness Thatcher who died ten days ago at the age of 87.

He nevertheless said the participation of former Labour prime ministers, who were Thatcher's rivals, in the funeral showed that British politicians expressed their respect to her irrespective of her different views.

The "Iron Lady" was British prime minister from 1979 to 1990. She headed the Conservative Party in 1975-1990.

Zantovsky said the ceremony was majestic, yet it had a relaxed atmosphere.

The participants "did not show any great emotion, but rather a quiet respect," he said.

He noted that the high number of top politicians in St Paul's Cathedral in London was impressive, however, mainly those who had been close to Thatcher personally or politically arrived.

Apart from Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, the funeral was attended by prime ministers and diplomats representing about 170 countries, including Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas and former Czech president Vaclav Klaus.

Jonny Bucknell, Conservative councillor for London Borough of Camden, told CTK during the funeral that he had mixed feelings. He said he felt sad that Thatcher had died but that the ceremony was a celebration of her life at the same time.

Bucknell said he did not mind the protests accompanying the farewell ceremony because Thatcher was a strong lady who knew that not everybody would agree with her.

Thatcher would have been disappointed if there would not be protests at her funeral, he said with a smile.

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