UK Politics

Son thanks public for support after Thatcher's death

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Media captionSir Mark Thatcher: ''Her death was, without doubt, a very sad moment"

Baroness Thatcher's son Mark said his family have been "overwhelmed" by messages of condolence from the public after her death.

He said his mother would have been pleased that "they have come from people from all walks of life".

She would also have been "humbled" by the Queen's decision to attend her funeral next Wednesday in St Paul's Cathedral, added Sir Mark.

The former prime minister died of a stroke on Monday morning, aged 87.

Sir Mark, speaking to reporters outside Baroness Thatcher's former home in Belgravia, spoke of how "enormously proud and grateful we are that Her Majesty the Queen has agreed to attend the service next week in St Paul's".

He added: "I know my mother would be greatly honoured as well as humbled by her presence."

'Overwhelmed by messages'

In a brief statement, he said that "by any measure, my mother was blessed with a long life and a very full one" but that had not made her death after an illness "any easier to bear".

"We have quite simply been overwhelmed by messages of support and condolences of every type, from far and wide, and I know my mother would be pleased that they have come from all walks of life," he told reporters.

Denis Thatcher, father of Sir Mark, 59, and twin sister Carol, died in 2003.

Sir Mark has been out of the headlines since his arrest in South Africa in 2004 for his alleged involvement in a failed coup in Equatorial Guinea.

He denies plotting or knowingly financing the coup attempt. He is understood to be living in Spain, where he is thought to be involved in property development.

Lady Thatcher, who had been in poor health for several years, will not have a state funeral, but will be accorded the same status as Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Queen Mother.

Gun salute

More than 700 armed forces personnel will be involved in lining the route of the procession from Westminster to St Paul's, including three bands whose drums will be covered in black cloth.

A gun salute will be fired from the Tower of London and the coffin will be carried into St Paul's by service personnel from regiments and ships closely associated with the Falklands campaign.

Lady Thatcher's family are meeting an unspecified amount of the expense, thought to cover transport, flowers and the cremation, with the government funding the rest, including security.

No official figure has been given for the estimated overall costs, although newspaper reports suggest it could be up to £10m.

Downing Street said the cost of the funeral would not be released until after the event.

Prime Minister David Cameron is leading tributes to Lady Thatcher in the House of Commons, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband among those who will also speak. The Lords will stage a separate debate.