Mrs Thatcher had a complicated time of it with Her Majesty by all accounts, as numerous sources from Buckingham Palace suggest the Queen was not a fan of the Iron Lady’s politics. The two women were of a similar age but that is where the similarities ended, as their backgrounds were unrecognisably different. The Queen’s relationship with her Prime Minister is of critical national importance, as the two meet once a week for discussions on the politics of the day.
Boris Johnson is her 14th – Mrs Thatcher was her eighth and longest-serving.
In 2014 Amazon Prime documentary ‘The Queen and her Prime Ministers, the narrator claims their relationship was “awkward at times”.
Royal expert Judy Wade describes a time when Mrs Thatcher desperately wanted to find out what the Queen was wearing to an event they were both attending.
The Prime Minister – who served from 1979 to 1990 – is said to have “rang up the Palace one day to say she was going to a big dinner that night with the Queen, and she wanted to know what colour the Queen was wearing so she wouldn’t clash”.
This sparked a response from Her Majesty which further suggests their relationship was complicated.
The reply from the Palace is said to have been: “Don’t worry, the Queen never notices what other women are wearing.”
The response from Downing Street is a source of mystery but Mrs Thatcher seemingly never lost her respect for the institution.
Bernard Ingham, Mrs Thatcher’s former Chief Press Secretary, claimed she was “extremely respectful of the monarchy” and perhaps “too punctual” when it came to her weekly audience.
The documentary’s narrator continued: “Whenever she went to see the Queen, Mrs Thatcher always arrived a quarter of an hour too early for her weekly audience and every week the Queen let her wait for 15 minutes.”
However, the complexity of their relationship does not mean it was a difficult one.
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BBC broadcaster Michael Cockerell noted: “In the end I think they did get on, and I think Mrs Thatcher came to value the advice the Queen gave her.”
While royal biographer Hugo Vickers went further still, commenting on how the Queen was said to be “very upset” by the way Mrs Thatcher was ousted as Prime Minister from rivals within the Conservative Party.
He noted: “She told somebody that, alright, Mrs Thatcher may have been tired and things, but it was a horrible way that it was done.”
Mr Ingham then noted the significance of how quickly the Queen honoured Mrs Thatcher after her resignation, first of all with the Order of Merit and then appointing her a Lady of the Garter.