Missus more popular : The Queen, Prince Philip, Margaret & Denis
Back in 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was first elected Prime Minister, she called on Buckingham Palace to present her credentials to the queen. She was accompanied by her husband, Denis Thatcher.
Maggie went in to meet Lizzie, while Denis waited outside.
Who should come by but Prince Philip!
Denis scrambled to his feet and Philip gestured he should keep sitting.
Denis said, “I am waiting for my wife Margaret”.
Philip looked puzzled so Denis explained, “You know, Mrs Thatcher, the new Prime Minister”.
Denis added, “I suppose more people have heard of the missus”.
Philip said, “It’s all right, we have the same problem in our family!”
Queen Elizabeth has attended the funerals of only two “commoners” – Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.
The Queen MOCKED Margaret Thatcher for her accent, new book reveals
The Queen and Margaret Thatcher had a difficult relationship
As the Queen celebrates her official birthday this weekend, author Dean Palmer told how the two most powerful women in recent history had repeated disagreements that were “very personal, class driven and distinctly female”.
In The Queen And Mrs Thatcher: An Inconvenient Relationship, the fi rst published analysis of their lack of rapport, Palmer claims the two female figureheads “met and disliked each other on sight”.
The book tells how Mrs Thatcher’s “entire character was anathema” to the Queen. It also reveals how she mocked Thatcher’s accent, which she described as “Royal Shakespeare received pronunciation from circa 1950”. Meanwhile, Thatcher loathed trips to Balmoral, considering them a “tedious waste of time”.
The Falklands War also caused further resentment between the pair as Thatcher became lauded as “mother of the nation” and the “public face of Britain abroad”. Veteran television producer Mr Palmer, who has made documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV, writes: “For over a decade they quietly waged a war against each other on both a personal and political stage, disagreeing on key issues including sanctions against South Africa, the miners’ strike and allowing US planes to bomb Libya using British military bases.
Elizabeth found the means to snub and undermine her prime minister through petty class put-downs and Press leaks.”
The book tells how the Queen, now 89, poked fun at Thatcher. Known for her mimicry, the Queen’s favourite Thatcher gag was about the prime minister visiting an old people’s home. Imitating Thatcher’s grandiose accent as she shook the hands of an elderly resident, the Queen would ask: “Do you know who I am?”, before adding: “No, replied the confused resident, but if you ask matron, she’ll tell you.”
The two women used to meet every Tuesday at 6.30pm but Thatcher would irritate the Queen by arriving too early, sitting on the edge of her chair and refusing to listen.
“Thatcher did love to lecture, which did not go down too well with Her Majesty,” Palmer writes.
The grocer’s daughter did not know how to handle her social superior, whom she greeted with an exaggerated curtsey. The prime minister was also left “furious and humiliated” after being rebuffed by Buckingham Palace for suggesting that the pair should co-ordinate outfits.
The Queen attending Thatcher’s funeral in 2013
“The Queen does not notice what other people are wearing,” came the haughty royal reply. The two women did not start on a good footing when Leader of the Opposition Thatcher fainted after their first meeting in 1974. When she passed out again at a later royal function, it irritated the stoic Queen who dismissively told fellow guests: “She’s keeled over again.”
Thatcher’s jingoistic approach to foreign policy annoyed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth – an institution the prime minister regarded as a “pointless hangover from the days of the empire”.
Palmer claims it “caused an early crack that soon became a full schism” as Her Majesty began referring to Thatcher as “that woman” in front of Commonwealth leaders she considered old friends. It also did not help that Thatcher “turned a blind eye” to Fleet Street’s “crucifi xion of the Royals”.
They also did not get on well socially. Thatcher “did not possess a sense of humour” compared with the dry-witted Queen and “did not understand the concept of leisure”.
The Queen and Margaret Thatcher in Zambia in 1979
After the Falklands conflict the Queen even started to worry that Thatcher was working too hard and urged her to take a holiday. The 1982 war, in which Prince Andrew served as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot, should have brought the women closer but instead drove a bigger wedge between them when Thatcher took the salute at the homecoming parade instead of the Queen.
It was only when the prime minster was ousted by her Cabinet in 1990 after 12 years in office that the Queen began to sympathise. The less the two women saw of each other, the closer they became and Her Majesty attended Thatcher’s 80th birthday celebrations in 2004 and her funeral in 2013.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
The Queen And Mrs Thatcher: An Inconvenient Relationship by Dean Palmer is published by The History Press, £20