LONDON: Details of more than 2,000 guests being invited to Baroness Thatcher’s funeral have been issued — including all her former cabinet ministers and Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
Downing Street released information about the ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral as Thatcher’s old political adversary Lord Kinnock revealed he would not be attending.
The former Labour leader had already accepted an invitation to a service for a friend who died shortly before Thatcher, a spokeswoman said.
“He will not be attending because a councillor in his old constituency died a few days before Thatcher,” the spokeswoman said.
“He promised he would go to the funeral. He will be in Wales.” Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Nancy Reagan have also said health problems will prevent them attending next Wednesday — but Lord Heseltine will be there.
The news emerged after Gorbachev said health problems would prevent him attending the ceremonial event next Wednesday.
The 82-year-old, who paid tribute to Thatcher as a “heavyweight politician and a striking person” following her death on Monday, was widely rumoured to be one of many global figures coming to London.
On Wednesday night, Nancy Reagan’s spokeswoman said that, although she was “heartbroken” over Thatcher’s death, she was also too unwell to attend and had asked the chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation to represent her.
Number 10 said the guest list had been drawn up by Thatcher’s family and representatives with the assistance of the government and the Conservative Party.
More than 2,000 invitations are expected to be sent out on Friday.
Altogether 2,300 people are set to pack St Paul’s.
A spokeswoman said: “Those invited include family and friends of 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, members of the cabinet, peers and MPs, members of the Order of the Garter, members of the Order of Merit, foreign associates and dignitaries and representatives from the wide range of groups she was associated with.
“In agreement with Thatcher’s representatives, around 200 states, territories and international organisations are being invited to send an official representative to the funeral service.
“We have invited those countries and institutions with whom we have normal diplomatic relations. In addition, there are invitations being made in a personal capacity to some current and former world leaders as well as others from overseas who had a close connection to Thatcher.”
According to Downing Street, confirmed guests so far include Tony Blair and wife Cherie, former South Africa leader FW de Klerk, and Lord Jeffrey Archer with wife Mary.
Singer Dame Shirley Bassey and composer Lord Lloyd-Webber are also due to attend the service, which will begin at 11am after Thatcher’s body has travelled from parliament with full military honours.
All of Britain’s surviving ex-prime ministers have also been invited along with a representative of the family of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and representatives from around 200 states and international organisations, Downing Street said in a statement.
“The invitations to the funeral service of Baroness Thatcher at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday will be printed on Thursday and will start being dispatched on Friday,” Downing Street said.