Death of Margaret Thatcher: Golden years add a silver lining to Iron Lady's bank accounts


Margaret Thatcher died a multi-millionaire, having made the same discovery as other prime ministers before and since that she could make more money in semi-retirement than when she was in office.

Her wealth was augmented by her marriage to Denis Thatcher, who was a successful businessman before they met. He sold his business to Castrol in 1964, for £530,000 (equivalent to substantially more than £8m in today's money), though his personal share of the proceedings was only £10,000 or about £158,000 in today's money. But he continued for several years as a director of Castrol, and then of Burmah Oil, after it bought the company.

As long ago as 1991, she was reported to be commanding a fee of $50,000 (£33,000) per lecture in the US. One US newspaper speculated in May 1991 that she would make $1m (£650,000) from just one month on the lecture circuit. Rupert Murdoch also paid her an advance of at least £200,000, through his publishing firm HarperCollins, for her memoirs, published in 1993.

The initial volume, The Downing Street Years, went on sale on a Sunday in October 1993, and by Wednesday was reported to have sold 300,000 copies. The total sales are not known, because it was released before accurate sales figures were compiled, but it is assumed that it brought her millions in royalties.

Her estate is likely to make a substantial amount more because the two volumes of her memoirs covering 1,344 pages, have been distilled into a single 832 page volume, which is being rushed out by HarperCollins and can be expected to shoot straight into the non-fiction sales charts.

She also owned the house in Chester Square, Belgravia, which has repeatedly topped the list as the country's most expensive street. The average house price in 2010 was £6.6 million, and while no Chester Square property has been put up for sale in the past year, during the 2009 slump in property prices there were 10 on the market for prices ranging from £4,950,000 to £14,750,000.

The estate is expected to go to her son, Sir Mark, daughter Carol, and to Mark's children, Michael and Amanda, from his first wife, American-born Diane Burgdorf, whom he divorced in 2005.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants