Profile of Margaret Thatcher
Name at birth: Margaret Hilda RobertsMargaret Thatcher was the United Kingdom's first woman prime minister. She held the office of PM for 11 years -- longer than anyone in the 20th century. As Margaret Roberts she attended Somerville College, Oxford, where she earned a chemistry degree (1947) and was president of the student Conservative Association. In the 1950s she trained as a lawyer and then was elected to Parliament as the member for Finchley in 1959. Her reputation as a rock-ribbed conservative grew over the next two decades, and she was named prime minister on 4 May 1979. Margaret Thatcher shored up a Conservative-led government, favored privatization rather than government expansion, led the country through the Falklands War with Argentina, and did it all with a stern no-nonsense flair that earned her the nickname "The Iron Lady." Margaret Thatcher served three consecutive terms as prime minister, although political disputes and discontent within her party forced her to resign on 28 November 1990. She was succeeded by fellow Conservative John Major. Margaret Thatcher published the memoirs The Downing Street Years (1993) and The Path to Power (1995). In later years she suffered from dementia, and she died after a stroke on April 8, 2013. Three years later, the UK's second female prime minister took office: Theresa May, also a Conservative, became PM in 2016.
Margaret Thatcher entered the House of Lords in 1992 as Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven… She has often been compared with her conservative American counterpart, Ronald Reagan… She married Denis Thatcher in 1951. Their twin children, Carol and Mark, were born in 1953. Denis Thatcher was an oil company executive; he died in 2003… Mark Thatcher was arrested at his South African home in 2004 on a charge of financing an attempted coup in oil-rich Equatorial Guinea; he pled guilty to a charge of negligence, saying he thought the money would be used for an air ambulance service… Carol Thatcher announced in 2008 that Margaret Thatcher had been suffering from mental decline since 2000, when she first had a series of small strokes… Margaret Thatcher was played by actress Meryl Streep in the 2011 film The Iron Lady; the role won Streep an Academy Award as best actress.
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