The first and most powerful woman in British politics. Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady of a kingdom, loved and loathed but never ignored

Margaret Thatcher was the first truly powerful woman in British politics. She was noted for a strength of character that was often foreign even to men, commanding respect and, at times, even intimidating.

She was not in the habit of making compromises, and this obviously propelled her to immortality, straight into the textbooks of world history. Loved or loathed, but never ignored: this is the perfect recipe for the leader by definition, one that is rarely found today without other, less pleasant, but profoundly dictatorial valences attached. Margaret Thatcher knew how to be a leader without being a dictator, and in some cases she also had a highly developed sense of irony.

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister

The dinner was Margaret Thatcher, Iron Lady of England

Margaret Hilda Roberts (later Baroness Margaret Thatcher, by marriage) was born on 13 October 1025 in Britain. From her earliest days, little Margaret was a keen student, and in 1944 she went to Oxford to study chemistry.

Years later, she became the third woman to become head of the Conservative University Association, and later worked at British Sylonite or J. Lyons and Co. as a chemist.

In 1951 she married Daniel Thatcher, a wealthy and influential man with whom she came to spend her entire life, and with whom she had two children.

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She was the first woman ever to hold the position of leader of a political party in Britain, and the country’s first female prime minister, paving the way for Theresay May and Elizabeth Truss.

“After my studies at Oxford, where I took a degree in chemistry, for four years I devoted myself to research in the field, and in 1951 I married. I have twin sons Mark, who is studying at Oxford, and Carol, who is at University College London.

After marriage I studied law, and from 1954 I began to practise as a solicitor. At the same time I was attracted by political and social activities. In the 1959 General Election I won a seat as a Member of Parliament, representing the constituency of Finchley, and I have represented it in Parliament ever since. My efforts have been noticed.

In October 1961, I was appointed Parliamentary Secretary, Minister for Pensions and National Insurance. In October 1968, I became Minister for Transport, and in October 1969 Minister for Education, in June 1970, I became Secretary of State for Education and Science, a member of the Privy Council.

Everywhere in the world enormous expectations are placed on education. It has come to the point where, if there are difficulties in transport or social matters, the solutions are to be sought, first of all, in education. It is rightly said that the great problems of education are to a large extent common to the whole world.

But the solutions are different and depend on two factors. The first relates to the past and concerns the traditions and history of educational development in each country. In England, for example, the fact that some schools have a history of four or five centuries and the University of Oxford began its work in the 13th century is a major factor in the adoption of solutions. A second determining factor in the choice of solutions is the future, i.e. the needs of society’s development in the coming decades. Finally, the adoption of solutions is determined by the economic factor, the way of life of a nation,” Margaret Thatcher said in an interview in 1971.

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During her time as Prime Minister, the country faced serious financial problems, and Margaret Thatcher was at one time both liked and disliked by the British people, but also by the politicians of the day.

Margaret Thatcher with Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain

Margaret Thatcher, “painted” images in cinema

Clearly, such a complete character could not be avoided by the cinema. The historical component as well as the strength of character of the Iron Lady was to be embodied in many roles in the metamorphoses of actresses Janet Brown, Alexandra Roach, Patricia Hodge, Andrea Riseborough, Lidsay Dunca, Greta Scacchi and Sylvia Syms.

However, by far the most “one-on-one” cinematic depictions belong to actresses Meryl Streep (in 2011’s The Iron Lady) and Gillian Anderson (in the fourth season of Netflix drama The Crown).

Though the performances are different, presenting different facets of the same historical figure, both capture what they need to, and together they interweave a Margaret Thatcher as she was.

Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) / Margaret Thatcher
Gillian Anderson (The Crown) / Margaret Thatcher

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