I was only in her company her twice. Once in late summer 1970 when newly appointed by Heath as Minster for Education she visited her old tutor Dorothy Hodgkin who was my DPhil supervisor. The second time was at Dorothy's memorial service when strange to many people she was not asked to give the eulogy although Dorothy taught her for 4 years. They remained in touch over the years. Dorothy was as far to the left as Maggie was to the right so Max Perutz an refugee Austrian Jew and like Dorothy a Nobel laureate gave the eulogy. Max was a lovely man. He said I am just a mongrel mid European Jew but Dorothy was pure middle England for many generations. The same was true of Margaret Hilda Roberts. She was pure middle England from the same geographical area as Dorothy and that other great English scientist Isaac Newton.
She was the first woman to be PM but as important she was the first and only science graduate to become PM. When I was in the Civil Service she was a well regarded minister not something you could say of much of Heath's government. (Curiously Heath had been in the house I shared the previous summer to see his god son whom I shared with.) Heath not only got us in to the Common Market in 72/73 without the consent of the British people but got the country into such a mess, 3 day week and black outs that he ushered in 5 plus further years of disastrous Labour rule so that when Thatcher won in 1979 the country was widely regarded as ungovernable.
It was her great achievement to break the power of the unions and return the country to the rule of law. She also brought back prosperity by ignoring the views of the UK economic establishment and doing the exact but common sense opposite to their views. We should remember this today.
She was also a great war time leader and without her we would have lost the Falklands and our standing in the world. I regard her as a better PM than Churchill.
She was the longest serving PM of modern times, 12 years straight. I used to work with the dept of Geriatric medicine at Liverpool. One of the standard questions to determine if you were gaga was, "Who is the prime minister". It had to be dropped as Maggie had been PM so long all the patients gaga or not got it right.
I was appalled today by the BBC's coverage of her life concentrating on her dotage and left wing critics. She was our greatest PM but they had to snipe at her even when she was dead. It shows just how nasty the so called liberal elite are.
She was a very great lady and we shall not see her like again.