WE do pomp and ceremony so well in this country.
And, as a privileged guest at Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, I witnessed it again, this time at first hand.
As we sat in the splendour of St Paul’s Cathedral, we watched the funeral cortege approach on large television screens.
With Guardsmen lining the streets, a respectful public looked on from behind crowd-control barriers.
The coffin, draped in the Union Flag, was carried into the cathedral by representatives from the three Services who took part in the Falklands’ War.
It was a poignant touch and, I’m sure, not lost on those who were serving at the time.
Mrs T, as she was collectively referred to in the military, with great affection, led from the front, emerging victorious.
The cathedral was packed, with a range of mourners from home and around the world.
Former colleagues and friends of Mrs T’s included Tom King, Douglas Hurd, Geoffrey Archer, Jeremy Clarkson and Terry Wogan.
On more than one occasion during the service, the hair rose on the back of my neck, and none more so than when we sang my favourite hymn, ‘I vow to thee my country’.
The Bishop of London gave an outstanding address, striking exactly the right balance and portraying a picture of Mrs T with due reverence and humour.
After the service, we strolled to the Guildhall for the reception.
At one point, the melee of mourners had to be redirected as they headed off in the wrong direction, but that moment of humour was just the tonic after the highs and lows of such a memorable occasion.
Mrs T was a remarkable lady, from a modest background, who made it to the top of her career through hard work, conviction and a love of her country.
May she now rest in peace.