Thatcher back at No 10 for portrait unveiling

Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher returned to 10 Downing Street yesterday to attend the unveiling of her portrait.

Dressed in a long royal-blue jacket, Baroness Thatcher was greeted on the steps of her former residence by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah.

Mr Brown shook hands with Lady Thatcher, who paused for photographs outside the famous door of No 10 but said nothing to waiting reporters.

Lady Thatcher's portrait was being unveiled at a private reception hosted by the Prime Minister and will go on permanent display in the stateroom's lobby on the first floor of Downing Street.

Mr Brown offered Lady Thatcher the honour of an official portrait in Downing Street when she visited him for tea at Number 10 in September 2007, a few months into his premiership.

Although photographs of all modern Prime Ministers line the main staircase in Number 10, only two 20th century premiers have paintings on display: David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill.

Lady Thatcher is believed to be the first living politician to have her portrait hung in the official residence of the Prime Minister.

The portrait by Richard Stone, who has previously painted the Queen and the Queen Mother as well as Labour Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and James Callaghan, was paid for by an anonymous private donor.