The announcement of the death of Baroness Thatcher on 8 April 2013 brought to an end the remarkable life of the dominant figure of British – and indeed world – politics of the nineteen-eighties.
She was the first woman to be elected to lead a major British political party and becoming Britain’s first woman Prime Minister. Not only that – she also held the post longer than any other British Prime Minister in the 20th century.
How best to celebrate and commemorate such a life of so many remarkable achievements? The design staff here at Benham are adept at producing popular commemorative First Day Covers but a long and successful life such as Baroness Thatcher’s demanded something more.
"We decided that a Customised Sheet would offer the best format to mark out significant stages in her life and her political career – which spanned over 50 years from her election as MP in 1959. The Union Flag Definitive stamp was chosen as the most appropriate and discussion then followed with regard to the images which would feature on the labels."
It was finally agreed that ten significant milestones from her long and active life would be depicted:
- 1925 her birth in Grantham;
- 1943 when she went up to Somerville College, Oxford;
- her marriage in 1951;
- her election to Parliament in 1959;
- her appointment as Education Secretary in 1970;
- her election as Conservative Party Leader in 1975;
- entering Downing Street as Britain’s first woman Prime Minister following the General Election victory in 1979;
- on board HMS Hermes in 1982 following victory in the Falklands Conflict;
- her resignation 11 years later;
- her death on 8 April 2013 and her ceremonial funeral with full military honours on 17 April 2013.
As a background to the stamp block we decided to show two images of her in characteristic pose and – to complete the sheet – an image of the Houses of Parliament where she served an MP and peeress from 1959 until her death.
The sheet is issued in a numbered limited edition of just 1979 – in honour of the year in which Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first and, so far, only woman Prime Minister.