The last state funeral was that of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. Margaret Thatcher, like Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and Diana, Princess of Wales, was given a ceremonial funeral in April 2013, but it was widely seen as a state funeral in all but name. And the chimes of Big Ben were also silenced for Mrs Thatcher’s funeral for the first time since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.
When Harold Macmillan, Conservative Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963, and who had served in government since 1940, died in 1986, 45 minutes were allowed for tributes in the House of Commons, two weeks after his death. On the death of Mrs Thatcher, Parliament was recalled the day after, and seven hours of tributes were allowed.
Harold Macmillan was a ‘one nation’ conservative, whereas Margaret Thatcher said ‘there was no such thing as society’ (though this quote was to an extent taken out of context). In 1960, Harold Macmillan warned the South African government in a speech attacking apartheid, of the ‘wind of change’ blowing through the continent of Africa, which contrasts with Margaret Thatcher’s support for the non-reformist Pik Botha, the South African prime minister, her staunch opposition in the 1980s to international sanctions against South Africa, and her dismissal in 1987 of Nelson Mandela’s ANC as a ‘terrorist’ organisation.
Harold Macmillan had a private funeral in January 1987 at St Giles’ Church in Horsted Keynes, West Sussex, and a public memorial service, attended by the Queen and thousands of mourners, was held on 10 February 1987 in Westminster Abbey.