Margaret Thatcher's Family 'Overwhelmed' By Messages Of Support, Says Mark Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher's son Mark has said his family has been "overwhelmed by messages of support" since his mother died on Monday.

Speaking in London on Wednesday, Sir Mark Thatcher said the "inevitability" of his mother's death made it "no easier for us to bare" and was "without doubt a very sad moment".

"We have quite simply been overwhelmed by messages of support and condoence of every type, from far and wide," he said.

"I know my mother would be pleased they have come from people of all walks of life."

He added: "These messages often convey personal stories and vignettes of part of the journey of my mothers life and we are all enourmously grateful for the warmth these msssages convey, they will be a source of encouragement and strength as we face the inevitable days ahead."

And Sir Mark said his mother would have bee "honoured and humbled" by the presence of the Queen at her funeral.

More than 700 armed forces personnel will take part in Thatcher's funeral, with her coffin to be carried to St Paul's cathedral those from units particularly associated with the Falklands conflict.

Tony Blair and his wife Cherie as well as Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah have confirmed they will attend the funeral. A number of high-profile guests are also expected to attend from across the world.

Planning is under way for the ceremony, which will have full military honours, next Wednesday, under an operation dubbed True Blue.

Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will attend - it is the first time the Queen has attended the funeral of a prime minister since Winston Churchill's in 1965.

Downing Street is expected to begin releasing details of the guest list on Wednesday, amid speculation that it could include former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ex-US first lady Nancy Reagan.