Over 2,000 guests invited to Thatcher funeral
London: All surviving former British Prime Ministers and US Presidents are among the more than 2,000 guests invited to attend `Iron Lady` Margaret Thatcher`s funeral next Wednesday.
A representative of the family of former South African President Nelson Mandela and representatives from around 200 countries and international organisations have also been invited to bid farewell to Britain`s first woman Prime Minster, Prime Minister David Cameron`s office said.
Downing Street today released its initial guest list for the ceremonial funeral at St Paul`s Cathedral in London, which has a capacity of 2,300 and is expected to be full on the day.
The list also includes celebrities like Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey, theatre veteran Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Clarkson, presenter of the BBC television motoring programme "Top Gear", who have confirmed their attendance.
The invitations, to be printed today and dispatched tomorrow, have been drawn up by Lady Thatcher`s family and representatives with the assistance of the government and the Conservative party.
However, one of Baroness Thatcher`s close allies, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (82), will not be attending due to health problems.
Her other Cold War ally, Ronald Reagan, will be represented by a member of the family as his widow, Nancy, is also believed to be too frail to travel.
It was also confirmed that Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will not be invited, given the history of war of the Falkland Islands under Thatcher`s regime.
Others on the guest list from around the globe include former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
The Queen and Prince Philip are already confirmed for the ceremony, the first funeral of a British politician the monarch will attended since that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
The invitees include family and friends of Lady Thatcher, those who worked with her over the years, including all surviving members of her Cabinets, former Chiefs of Staff, Conservative associates, peers and MPs and representatives from the wide range of groups she was associated with.
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