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Ceremonial funeral for Thatcher

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government said a ceremonial funeral with military honours, a tribute usually reserved for senior members of the royal family, would be held for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, 87, who died on Monday.

The ceremony is expected to be held at London's St Paul's Cathedral next week. In line with her family's wishes, the occasion will not be a full state funeral, which another former British leader Winston Churchill was given in 1965.

However, Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street office said the Queen had given consent for a ceremonial funeral, the same status as that held for the late Princess Diana in 1997.

"A wide and diverse range of people and groups with connections to Lady Thatcher will be invited," Downing Street said in a statement.

"The service will be followed by a private cremation. All the arrangements being put in place are in line with wishes of Lady Thatcher's family."

The day before the funeral, Thatcher's coffin will be moved to Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster, home to Britain's Houses of Parliament.

The following day, the streets of central London will be cleared of traffic with her coffin taken by hearse to the Church of St Clement Danes, the Royal Air Force chapel located on the Strand.

There it will placed on a gun carriage and drawn by the King's Troop Royal Artillery in a procession through London with the route lined by service personnel from Britain's military.

At St Paul's it will be met by a guard of honour, with military personnel and veterans lining the steps of the cathedral.

"Lady Thatcher's wish was for the armed forces to be able to participate in the funeral - they will therefore have a key part to play," Downing Street said.

Cameron and senior politicians including those who served in her three governments will be present at the service which will be televised as the public will be unable to attend.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Stephen Addison and Jon Hemming)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130408/ceremonial-funeral-thatcher-0