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Armed Forces' role in the funeral of Lady Thatcher

Details of the Armed Forces' involvement in the funeral of Baroness Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Members of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery parade past Buckingham Palace on Constitution Hill, London (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Jez Doak, Crown copyright]
King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery parade past Buckingham Palace

The funeral service will take place on Wednesday 17 April at St Paul’s Cathedral, involving more than 700 Armed Forces personnel. The coffin will be drawn on a gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery from St Clement Danes Church on the Strand to St Paul’s, with members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force lining the route. Outside the cathedral, a Guard of Honour and band of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards will be formed up. While the ceremonial procession takes place, the Honourable Artillery Company will fire processional minute guns from Tower Wharf, Tower of London.

Carrying the coffin of Lady Thatcher into the cathedral will be a bearer party made up of all 3 Services, including those from ships, units and stations notable for their service during the Falklands Campaign. Positioned on the steps will be a step-lining party made up of 18 tri-Service personnel and a contingent of in-pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Senior military representatives will attend the service.

Terence Donovan's portrait of Baroness Thatcher
The portrait of Baroness Thatcher which hangs on the Grand Staircase of 10 Downing Street [Picture: © Terence Donovan]

The military elements involved in the funeral are:

Ceremonial gun carriage

After the coffin has been moved to St Clement Danes Church (the church of the Royal Air Force) from the Palace of Westminster, it will be borne in procession to St Paul’s Cathedral on a gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. The gun carriage will be drawn by 6 horses (3 of which are mounted), with a sergeant riding alongside, an officer riding in front, and 3 dismounted troops on foot.

Processional band

A band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines will take part in the procession from St Clement Danes Church to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Bearer party

The bearer party will walk alongside the coffin in the procession to the cathedral, consisting of 10 tri-Service personnel. Members will be taken from the:

Where possible, personnel will be chosen from ships, units and stations connected to those who served during the Falklands Campaign. They will be supported by one Army officer and a warrant officer.

Street-lining of the processional route

The processional route will be from St Clement Danes Church to St Paul’s Cathedral. Lining the route will be personnel from the:

  • Royal Navy and Royal Marines
  • Scots Guards (F Company)
  • 1st Battalion Welsh Guards
  • Royal Air Force

Bands in support of the street-liners

Bands from all 3 Services will be positioned alongside the street-liners on the processional route. These will be:

Guard of Honour

Outside St Paul’s Cathedral a Guard of Honour of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, together with the Welsh Guards Band, will be mounted for the arrival of the coffin.

Step-lining outside St Paul’s Cathedral for the arrival of the coffin

A step-lining party, comprising 18 Service personnel (6 Royal Navy/Royal Marines, 6 members of The Blues and Royals, Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, and 6 Royal Air Force) plus in-pensioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea will line the steps of St Paul’s for the arrival of the coffin.

Processional minute guns

While the procession to St Paul’s Cathedral takes place, the Honourable Artillery Company will fire processional minute guns from Tower Wharf, Tower of London.

In accordance with Lady Thatcher’s wishes, a flypast will not take place.

Published 10 April 2013