Margaret Thatcher's body will lie in Parliament chapel on night before funeral

MPs and peers will be able to pay their private respects in St Mary Undercroft

Whitehall Editor

MPs and peers will be able to pay their private respects to Baroness Thatcher on the eve of her funeral, Downing Street announced tonight.

Baroness Thatcher's coffin will lie in Parliament's Chapel of St Mary Undercroft on Tuesday night following a service for around 100 people including family and senior figures from both Houses.

Afterwards the chapel will be open so MPs and peers can visit the former prime minister's coffin ahead of her funeral on Wednesday.

The Government also announced further details of those attending the ceremony at St Paul's. These will include the former American Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, the founder of the internet Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

Her former advertising guru Lord Maurice Saatchi will also be thee along with the former editor of the Sunday Times Andrew Neil.

The Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins - who was only 11 when Lady Thatcher left office - will also be there as will the singer and actor Michael Crawford.

In a statement Downing Street said Lady Thatcher had requested her body be rested overnight in the historic chapel in Westminster, and the Queen had given her consent.

"There will be a short service for around 100 people, led by the Dean of Westminster, to receive the body of Baroness Thatcher in the Chapel," a spokesman said.

"The service is not a public event and the family has agreed that seats in the Chapel should be offered to members and staff of both Houses who knew or worked closely with Baroness Thatcher or who served her in some personal capacity, for example, housekeepers who looked after her office in the Houses of Parliament.

"After the service, the Chapel will be open in order that members of both Houses and parliamentary staff holding permanent passes may pay their respects.

"The Speaker's Chaplain, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, will keep vigil in the Chapel through the night."

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.

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