Sir Denis 'would have been chuffed'

Last post sounded and a guard of honour of 12 Chelsea Pensioners saluted the coffin of Sir Denis Thatcher yesterday as it left the chapel of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea after his funeral service.

Baroness Thatcher, flanked by their twins, Carol and Mark, stood on the steps of the magnificent 17th-century building as the coffin, decked with red roses and white lilies was taken away.

Afterwards Carol said: "It was a wonderful service. He would have been chuffed by it all. This was the most perfect place to have it. They spent many Sundays here together."

Lady Thatcher, her children, and Mark's Texan wife, Diane, led about 120 mourners at the service, including Sir Denis's old golfing friends, former members of her cabinet and those who worked with her in Downing Street.

Lord Deedes, who was probably Sir Denis's closest friend, said: "Everything was exactly right. She was jolly pleased with it. She is a strong woman and she will be fine."

There were moments of laughter during the service. The Rev Richard Whittington, in his address, recalled that when he became chaplain, Sir Denis had spoken warmly of his predecessor. "Good chap that," Sir Denis said. "Never preached a minute over seven minutes. The new chap had better keep it short."

Mr Whittington said that his first sermon at the chapel lasted 11 minutes. He said: "I offered to give him four strokes when we next play golf."

Sir Denis, 88, died at the Lister Hospital, in central London, on 26 June after a short illness. He had survived a six-hour heart bypass operation in January and appeared to have recovered well from that until he fell ill again last month.

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