Here’s a look at the life of Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990.
Birth date: October 13, 1925
Death date: April 8, 2013
Birth place: Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
Birth name: Margaret Hilda Roberts
Father: Alfred Roberts, grocer
Mother: Beatrice Ethel (Stephenson) Roberts, grocer
Marriage: Sir Denis Thatcher (December 13, 1951- June 26, 2003, his death)
Children: Mark and Carol (twins), August 15, 1953
Education: Somerville College at Oxford College, Chemistry, 1943-1947. Passed the bar, 1953
The first female prime minister of Great Britain.
Called the Iron Lady, for personal and political toughness.
Only British prime minister of the 20th century to win three consecutive terms. (Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s first of three terms began in the 20th, but ended in the 21st.)
During her time as prime minister, she emphasized the rights of the individual versus that of the state, moral absolutism and nationalism.
In her first term, Thatcher reduced or eliminated many government subsidies to business, a move that lead to a sharp rise in unemployment. By 1986, unemployment had reached 3 million.
Enjoyed a close friendship and working relationship with President Ronald Reagan, with whom she shared similar conservative views.
1950 - Runs unsuccessfully for Parliament.
1959 - Wins a seat in the House of Commons by winning the Conservative seat in Finchley, in north London.
1961-1964 - Serves as a parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.
1969-1970 - Serves as chief opposition spokesperson on education.
1970-1974 - Secretary of State for education and science in the Conservative government of Edward Heath.
1975 - Is elected leader of the Conservative Party.
1976 - In a speech, she lashes out against Communism. This causes the Soviet press to nickname her the “Iron Lady.”
May 4, 1979 - Becomes prime minister after leading the Conservatives to electoral victory.
April 2, 1982 - Argentina invades the Falkland Islands. Thatcher immediately authorizes forces to recapture the Falklands. After a few months of fighting, Argentine troops surrender on June 14, 1982.
June 9, 1983 - Wins re-election in a landslide and gains a parliamentary majority with just over 42% of the vote.
1984 - Escapes an IRA terrorist bombing in Brighton at the annual Conservative Party conference.
June 11, 1987 - The Conservative Party wins its third general election.
1989 - Thatcher introduces the poll tax, a charge levied on community residents rather than property. The unpopular tax leads to rioting in the streets, and Thatcher’s ouster by Conservative Party politicians worried that the tax and Thatcher’s unpopularity would bring down the party.
November 1990 - Is forced to resign as prime minister after a leadership struggle within her own party.
March 7, 1991 - Receives the US Medal of Freedom from President George Bush.
June 5, 1992 - Is named a life peer on the Queen’s honor list. Thatcher’s title is Baroness.
June 30, 1992 - Swearing-in ceremony at the House of Lords, where Thatcher formally becomes the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven.
July 1, 1993-June 30, 2000 - Is chancellor of the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia.
February 4, 1994 - Formal investiture as chancellor of the College of William and Mary.
1995 - Her autobiography, “The Path to Power,” is published.
March 22, 2002 - Retires from public life after suffering a series of small strokes.
June 11, 2004 - Attends Ronald Reagan’s funeral services.
August 25, 2004 - South African police arrest Thatcher’s son, Mark, on allegations he was involved in a plot to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.
January 13, 2005 - Mark pleads guilty to unwittingly helping bankroll the coup plot. In exchange, he receives a fine, a suspended jail sentence and the right to join his family in the United States.
September 2005 - The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom is established.
August 2008 - Daughter Carol confirms Thatcher is suffering from dementia, first noticed in 2000.
December 30, 2009 - The British National Archives releases the 1979 state papers from Thatcher’s early months as prime minister.
April 8, 2013 - Dies after suffering a stroke.