US president Barack Obama has led the tributes from leaders around the world in response to the death of Baroness Thatcher, who has died at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.
Mr Obama described Lady Thatcher as a "true friend" to the US. In a statement, he said: "As a grocer's daughter who rose to become Britain's first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can't be shattered.
"As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best.
"And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom's promise.
"Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history - we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will.
"Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life - free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny."
Former US president Bill Clinton said America had lost "one of its dearest friends and most valued allies".
He said: "Lady Thatcher understood that the special relationship which has long united our two nations is an indispensable foundation for peace and prosperity. Our strong partnership today is part of her legacy.
"Hillary, Chelsea, and I extend our condolences to her family and to the people of the United Kingdom."
Clinton's predecessor, George HW Bush, who was in power in the last few years of Mrs Thatcher's administration, issued a statement, which said: "Margaret was, to be sure, one of the 20th century's fiercest advocates of freedom and free markets – a leader of rare character who carried high the banner of her convictions, and whose principles in the end helped shape a better, freer world.
"May God bless the memory of Margaret Thatcher."
Reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev described the former prime minister as a "heavyweight politician".
"Margaret Thatcher was a heavyweight politician and a striking person. She will remain in our memories, and in history," he said.
Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny described Mrs Thatcher as a formidable leader.
"Mrs Thatcher was a formidable political leader who had a significant impact on British, European and world politics. During her 11 years as prime minister, she defined an era in British public life," he said.
"While her period of office came at a challenging time for British-Irish relations, when the violent conflict in Northern Ireland was at its peak, Mrs Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement which laid the foundation for improved North-South cooperation and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement."
Lech Walesa, the Polish anti-communist politician who led the Solidarity movement and was his country's first president after communism, hailed Baroness Thatcher as a "great person", it was reported.
He said: "She did a great deal for the world, along with Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Solidarity, she contributed to the demise of communism in Poland and Central Europe."
Another prominent figure in the fight against communism in Europe, Vaclav Klaus, said her name will always remain important.
In a statement on his website, the former Czech president, who entered politics during the country's Velvet Revolution, said her death "is for all supporters of freedom, democracy, market capitalism and a huge loss.
"She was one of the most prominent political figures last quarter of the 20th century, and I believe that the passage of time, her name will not lose its importance," he said.
South African's ruling African National Congress party expressed its sadness at Baroness Thatcher's death, despite being on the "receiving end" of her policies.
In a statement on their website, the party said: "The African National Congress has learnt with sadness of the passing of Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister of Britain at the age of 87."
The statement went on: "The ANC was on the receiving end of her policy in terms of refusing to recognise the ANC as the representatives of South Africans and her failure to isolate Apartheid after it had been described as a crime against humanity, however we acknowledge that she was one of the strong leaders in Britain and Europe to an extent that some of her policies dominate discourse in the public service structures of the world.
"Long after her passing on, her impact will still be felt and her views a subject of discussion.
"The ANC extends its condolences to her family, her loved ones and the people of Britain. May her soul rest in peace."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly praised her actions in helping to bring about the end of the Cold War.
"As a long-serving prime minister, she shaped modern Britain as few have before or since," she said.
"She was one of the greatest leaders in world politics of her time.. I will never forget her contribution in overcoming Europe's partition and the end of the Cold War.
"Margaret Thatcher was not a feminist but by proving herself as a woman in the highest democratic post when this was far from usual, she gave an example to many. My thoughts and sympathy are with her children."
Statement from the President on the Passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise. Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny.
“The greatest peacetime prime minister in British history is dead. Margaret Thatcher, a grocer’s daughter, stared down elites, union bosses, and communists to win three consecutive elections, establish conservative principles in Western Europe, and bring down the Iron Curtain. There was no secret to her values – hard work and personal responsibility – and no nonsense at all in her leadership. She once said, ‘Defeat? I do not recognize the meaning of the word.’ Now this lady who was never for turning goes to rest as grateful friends and allies around the world mourn her passing and pray for her loved ones. Americans will always keep Lady Thatcher in our hearts for her loyalty to Ronald Reagan and their friendship that we all admired. At this difficult hour, I send the condolences of the U.S. House of Representatives to Prime Minister Cameron and the British people.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding the loss of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: “I join Margaret Thatcher’s family and the British people in mourning the loss of one of the 20th century’s most consequential leaders. “From a young age, Margaret Thatcher understood what limited government and free enterprise could do for people and helped modernize Great Britain’s economy. Her passion for freedom and in advocating for the dignity of people trapped behind communism’s Iron Curtain helped bring about the Soviet Union’s end. “As someone who grew up in the Ronald Reagan era, I admired the special bond he had with Margaret Thatcher. Through her work with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher helped deepen and solidify the special relationship between our two countries, which continues to benefit both nations to this day. “We have lost a great leader, but Margaret Thatcher’s memory and legacy will always live on through the leadership lessons that defined her career. May God bless Margaret Thatcher and provide comfort to her family and those who admired her in Britain and around the world.”
George W. Bush
President George W. Bush issued the following statement on the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “Laura and I are saddened by the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher. She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity. Prime Minister Thatcher is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. Laura and I join the people of Great Britain in remembering the life and leadership of this strong woman and friend.”
Statement by Condoleezza Rice on the passing of Baroness Thatcher: I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Baroness Thatcher. There was no more potent force in the defense of freedom than this remarkable woman. Her unshakable belief in the universal appeal of liberty helped to steer the free world through treacherous times until communism was defeated and Europe emerged whole, free and a peace. I was honored to know her and to be inspired by her. Baroness Thatcher will be missed but generations will draw strength from the memory of her passion for freedom.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) today released the following statement regarding the passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: Today the world mourns the loss of an extraordinary leader, the great Margaret Thatcher. Utterly fearless, she never once went wobbly. Rejecting the failures of socialism, she won the argument for liberty, and her name is synonymous with the policies that restored peace, prosperity, growth, and stability at a time when it seemed like the United Kingdom had none. It was truly a Providential blessing that she served alongside President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II -- together the three of them stood unshakable, defended humanity, and won the Cold War without firing a shot. Her magnificent intellect and unwavering work ethic helped her become Britain's first and only female prime minister -- an ascent that wasn't a matter of breaking through the glass ceiling, but simply refusing to acknowledge its existence. The world will forever be in her debt; Lady Thatcher was one of kind. Long live the memory of our dearly departed Iron Lady.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to serve as the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister: “Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was a commanding political figure, a leader of uncompromising strength, and a public servant who never failed to break down barriers. As the first woman—and longest-serving—British Prime Minister, she possessed a singular resilience that commanded the respect of her colleagues, the attention of a nation, and the awe of women and men across the world. “She was a relentless force and a steady hand in our fight to win the Cold War, helping to bring down the Berlin Wall brick by brick. She led her country with poise, grace, and an unmistakable iron will that will forever stand as a true testament to her unwavering commitment to public service. We only hope it is a comfort to her daughter Carol, her son Mark, and the entire Thatcher family that so many share in their grief at this sad time.”
“I was saddened to learn of the death of Lady Margaret Thatcher. The United Kingdom has lost its first woman Prime Minister, an iconic stateswoman, and a fearless leader. The United States has lost one of its dearest friends and most valued allies. Lady Thatcher understood that the special relationship which has long united our two nations is an indispensable foundation for peace and prosperity. Our strong partnership today is part of her legacy. Like so many others, I respected the conviction and self-determination she displayed throughout her remarkable life as she broke barriers, defied expectations, and led her country. Hillary, Chelsea, and I extend our condolences to her family and to the people of the United Kingdom.” (via <a href="http://nbcnightlynews.tumblr.com/post/47464173345/president-clinton-on-passing-of-margaret-thatcher" target="_blank">NBC News</a>)
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Margaret Thatcher - General Election
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher leaving 10 Downing Street after the Conservative Party won a convincing majority in the General Election.
Denis and Margaret Thatcher
Baroness Margaret Thatcher reunited with her husband Sir Denis Thatcher, this afternoon when he returned home after spending the last few weeks recovering from his six-hour coronary by-pass operation. * Sir Denis the husband of former Conservative Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, who is 87-years-old, said he was looking forward to a relaxing weekend in their home in Belgravia, West London. 15/6/03: His family said that the 88-year-old had been readmitted to the Royal Brompton Hospital in London for tests following major heart surgery in January. *30/10/03: Baroness Thatcher will be joined by her twin children, Carol and Mark, at a memorial service to pay tribute to her late husband, Sir Denis Thatcher. Sir Denis died in June, aged 88 having undergone major heart surgery six months earlier from which it appeared he had made a good recovery.
David Montgomery/Getty Images)British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, circa 1985. (Photo by David Montgomery/Getty Images) (Photo by David Montgomery/Getty Images)
Politics - Helmut Kohl Visit - Chequers, Buckinghamshire
Margaret Thatcher and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of West Germany at ease in the grounds as they had three hours of 'relaxed and very friendly' talks at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence. They agreed more emphasis should be laid on the warmth of Anglo-German relations.
Thatcher and David Cameron meet for dinner
Baroness Thatcher and Conservative leader David Cameron meet for dinner at the Goring Hotel in Victoria, south-west London.
Order of the Garter ceremony
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh sit with the Knights and Ladies of the Garter in the Waterloo Room at Windsor Castle before a Garter Service at St George's Chapel in the castle grounds. * The Knights and Ladies of The Most Noble Order of the Garter are, from left: front row, The Duke of Grafton, The King of Spain, The Queen of Denmark, The Duke of Gloucester, The Princess Royal, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Kent, Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, The Queen of the Netherlands, The King of Norway. Second row; Page of Honour The Honorable John Bowes-Lyon, Sir Edward Heath, The Duke of Devonshire, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, The Duke of Wellington, The Chancellor Lord Carrington, Lord Richardson of Duntisbourne, Lord Bramall, Viscount Ridley, Lord Kingsdown, Baroness Thatcher, Page of Honour Lord Carnegie. Third row; Lord Inge, The Duke of Abercorn, Lord Ashburton, Sir Edmund Hilary, Sir Timothy Coleman, Sir William Gladstone and Sir Anthony Acland.
Royalty - State Visit of Queen Beatrix - 10 Downing Street
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (l) and Prince Claus (2nd from right) with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street.
Politics - PM Margaret Thatcher - Clydach Vale, Rhondda Valley
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with Welsh Secretary Peter Walker at Clydach Vale in Rhondda Valley, where she saw derelict land being reclaimed as part of a factory development.
Royalty - Queen Beatrix and Margaret Thatcher - London
Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands meet with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Downing Street during their state visit to Britain.
Margaret Thatcher's papers
File photo dated 17/06/07 of Margaret Thatcher and the Duke of York as a hand-written note by Lady Thatcher appears to show how she grappled with her response to the Duke of York's deployment as part of the Falklands task force.
Margaret Thatcher's papers
EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY MARCH 22 File photo dated 01/10/88 of Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as Lady Thatcher's 1982 private papers include a number of brief mentions of figures who would go on to play a significant role in public and political life. They include an early meeting with Robert Mugabe, who had been elected as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980.
Margaret Thatcher Lays Flowers at Bradford City Fire Site
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, watched by her husband Denis, lays a wreath among the hundreds of other floral tributes near the turn stile area of the Bradford City football ground, Yorkshire, where many of the 52 victims of the tragedy were found.
Dutch Royalty - Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus - 10 Downing Street - London
During the second day of their State visit to Britain, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus are greeted by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street, London, for luncheon.
Politics - Thatcher Education Secretary - 1970
Conservative MP Margaret Thatcher (the future British Prime Minister), Secretary of State for Education and Science.
Politics - Thatcher wedding day - 1951
Unsuccessful Conservative candidate for Dartford, Margaret Hilda Roberts, 26, on the day of her wedding to Denis Thatcher at Wesley's Chapel, in London.
Politics - Conservative Women's Conference - 1973
A popular event in the two-day programme of the Conservative Women's Conference was the address on education by Margaret Thatcher, Education Secretary.
Thatcher and the Red Army Dancers.
Margaret Thatcher enjoying a chat with dancers from the Red Army Ensemble -- Moscow Military District, at the Royal Albert Hall.
Politics - Thatcher Wedding Day - 1951
Unsuccessful Conservative candidate for Dartford, Margaret Roberts, 26, at her wedding to 36-year-old Denis Thatcher at Wesley's Chapel, in London.
Politics - Conservative Party Conference - Blackpool - 1970
Prime Minister, Edward Heath sports a smile which lasted during a three-minute ovation he received at the opening of the annual Conservative conference at the Winter Gardens. Sharing the platform with him is Margaret Thatcher, Secretary for Education and Science.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher - 1975
Margaret Thatcher, Conservative MP, receives a kiss from her husband Denis.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher - 1975
Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher, at working her office at the House of Commons.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher - 1975
Conservative MP Margaret Thatcher, 49, in her Chelsea home kitchen, before making her challenge for the Conservative Party leadership and a place in political history.
Politics - Thatcher and Reagan - 1975
Former California Governor Ronald Reagan presenting a silver dollar medallion to Opposition Leader Margaret Thatcher when he visited her in her House of Commons office.
Politics - Conservative Local Government Conference - 1979
Margaret Thatcher speaking at the Conservative Local Government Conference at Caxton Hall, London, when she angrily accused the Government of having tried to whip up non-existent emotions in the referendum campaigns.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher - Shadow Education Secretary - 1969
Margaret Thatcher, spokesperson on Education in the Conservative Shadow Cabinet, at the Houses of Parliament.
Politics - General Election 1979
Margaret and Denis Thatcher get away from it all with their 25-year-old twins, Mark and Carol, by strolling through the grounds of Scotney Castle, Kent where Mrs Thatcher has a National Trust flat. She is relaxing before the battle ahead to become the first female Prime Minster.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher - Chelsea, London
Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher in a jubilant mood outside her Chelsea home, after Tory victories in by-elections at two former Labour strongholds - Workington and Walsall North.
Silver wedding anniversary.
Margaret and Denis Thatcher with their children, Mark and Carol, at their Chelsea home on the day of their silver wedding anniversary.
Margaret Thatcher's papers
File photo dated 26/4/1982 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Wide divisions within the Conservative party over how the Government should respond to Argentina's invasion of the Falklands are revealed today as Margaret Thatcher's 1982 private papers are made public.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher - Vacuum Interrupters Ltd - 1981
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wears protective clothing as she tours the premises of Vacuum Interrupters Ltd.
Politics - General Election 1979
Margaret Thatcher waves from the doorstep of Number 10 Downing Street in Whitehall, London, on the day of the General Election.
Politics - General Election 1979
Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher in a thoughtful mood when she hosted her party's press conference in London, as the 1979 General Election campaign entered its final week.
Politics - First Female Prime Minister - Downing Street - 1979
Britain's first women Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher arrives at no.10 Downing Street to take up office following the Conservative victory in the general election.
Politics - Conservative Party Conference - Blackpool - 1979
A jubilant Margaret Thatcher acknowledging the standing ovation after her speech on the final day of the Conservative Party Conference at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Thatcher Falkland Island surrender talks
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher facing an enthusiastic reception from well-wishers outside No 10 Downing Street, in London, on her return from the Commons, where she told MPs talks on a surrender by Argentina of the Falkland Islands were in progress.
Margaret Thatcher in garland.
Margaret Thatcher addressing a crowd at Stoneleigh near Coventry wearing a garland presented to her by an Asian constituent.
Politics - General Election 1983
Margaret Thatcher with her husband Denis greets supporters at a rally in Fleetwood during her campaign visit of the North West.
Politics - Conservative Party Conference - Blackpool - 1977
Conservative party leader Margaret Thatcher with 16 year old Rother Valley schoolboy, William Hague, after he received a standing ovation from delegates at the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool.
Margaret Thatcher won a landslide victory
10th JUNE: On this day in 1983 Margaret Thatcher won a landslide victory to start her second term of power. The window of success frames the jubilant Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers after her election win. At Tory Party headquarters, she told flag-waving supporters "My victory is greater than I had dared to hope".
Politics - Thatcher and Tongan king - 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher looks pensive as she awaits the arrival of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
Politics - General Election 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher returning to 10 Downing Street after winning the election. Instead of entering her official residence, she insisted on walking to the end of the street and the corner of Whitehall to shake hands with well-wishers.
Politics - Reagan and Thatcher - 1984
Ronald Reagan has a word in the ear of Margaret Thatcher on the day that Thatcher becomes the longest-serving Prime Minister in the 20th century.
Politics - Thatcher and Reagan - 1984
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, left, with American President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy.
Politics - Channel Tunnel Agreement - Canterbury Cathedral - 1986
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with French President Francois Mitterrand at the Chapter House, Canterbury Cathedral, when the Channel Fixed Link Treaty was signed by the foreign secretaries.
Politics - General Election 1987
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher gives a three-fingered salute outside 10 Downing Street as she begins her third successive term of office following the Conservative victory in the general election.
Margaret Thatcher and Francois Mitterand - Channel Tunnel
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and French President Francois Mitterand at Canterbury Cathedral for the signing of the Channel Fixed Link Treaty.
Politics - Economic Summit Banquet - London
Left to right: Queen Elizabeth II, American President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Buckingham Palace when they attended a special banquet hosted by the Queen following the London Economic Summit.
Politics - 250th Anniversary of the Prime Minister's office - Downing Street, London
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is joined by Queen Elizabeth II and five former PMs at 10 Downing Street, London, as she hosts a dinner celebrating the 250th anniversary of the residence becoming the London home of Prime Ministers. (L-R) James Callaghan, Lord Home, Thatcher, Lord Stockton, the Queen, Lord Wilson and Edward Heath.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher - Victory Ball - 1987
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis lead off the dancing during the Victory Ball at the Empress Hall, Blackpool.
Politics - Margaret Thatcher 10 Years in Power - Downing Street, London
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, London, ten years after they moved in, following the 1979 general election.
Politics - Thatcher and Family - Downing Street - 1989
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outside 10 Downing Street, in London, with her son Mark, daughter-in-law Diane, and two-month-old grandson Michael.