David Cameron is to do a reading at the funeral this week of Baroness Thatcher, it has emerged.
Margaret Thatcher left instructions that the serving Prime Minister should give a reading at her funeral.
David Cameron is expected to deliver a lesson from the Gospels at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday. According to the Daily Telegraph, she insisted that the Prime Minister at the time of her death should read from John 14.1.
The passage reads: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
Lady Thatcher did not ask for David Cameron specifically; she simply wanted a reading from the Prime Minister. Had she lived a little longer, it could have been Ed Miliband.
The divisive former Prime Minister, who was said to have known hundreds of hymns by heart and to have keenly watched Songs of Praise in her final years, made meticulous plans for her farewell service, beginning preparations around eight years ago.
Among the choice of hymns is the patriotic I Vow to Thee, My Country, John Bunyan’s To Be a Pilgrim and Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.
Lady Thatcher’s 19-year-old granddaughter Amanda will give another lesson, and there will also be readings from the Book of Common Prayer.
There will be the traditional reading for meeting the body arriving at a church, which begins: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord. He that believeth in me, yea, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
It was announced last night that MPs and peers will be able to pay their respects to Lady Thatcher in Parliament’s Chapel of St Mary Undercroft on the eve of her funeral.
Members and staff from both Houses will be able visit the former Prime Minister’s coffin on Tuesday evening, and around 100 people will also be invited to a short service led by the Dean of Westminster welcoming Lady Thatcher’s body. Among the attendees will be her family, senior figures from both Houses and people who worked with her closely, including housekeepers who looked after her office in the Houses of Parliament.
Downing Street said Lady Thatcher had requested her body be rested overnight in the historic chapel, and the Queen had given her consent. It is understood Lady Thatcher’s body will arrive at the Palace of Westminster by hearse, and leave again by hearse without a formal ceremony.