Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher had a controversial relationship for eleven and a half years, which was limited to affairs of state and revealed their differences.
One of the argumentative threads of season 4 of The Crown is the relationship between the Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. What did Elizabeth think of the first woman to occupy 10 Downing Street and what was the relationship between the two most powerful women in England like?
Thatcher’s rise to power was harsh and did not have popular approval. Her performance as Minister of Education and Science earned her the nickname “milk thief”, after she promoted a reform to eliminate the supply of milk offered in UK schools.
The trend of reducing public spending as much as possible became the banner of Thatcher, whose decisions earned her the nickname ‘the Iron Lady’. The neoliberal policies that he promoted in the United Kingdom dynamited the welfare state that has been maintained in England since the end of the WWII, a scheme with a provider state that supported those most in need and with which the Queen felt particularly comfortable.
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Thatcher’s Charge Against labor rights, government companies and cuts in health and education ideologically positioned him further to the right than Elizabeth II. According to the British press, the weekly meetings between the two, held during the 11 years of their mandate, were limited to the State affairs and their relationship was cold and cutting.
In 1986, a year after the largest miners’ strike in UK history, rumors about the strained relationship between Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher they made the front pages of all the newspapers.
The notion that the Queen condemned Thatcher’s economic measures and her international policy (the Malvinas conflict and the minister’s support for apartheid) became a powder keg that was denied time and again from the royal house and the Prime Minister herself, who publicly expressed her admiration for Isabel.
Michael Fagan: the Buckingham Intruder
One of the chapters that best illustrates the clash of ideologies between Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher is the famous intrusion of Michael Fagan, an unemployed artist with four children who circumvented the security of Buckingham Palace and in an unusual event, managed to reach the queen’s room while she slept.
Get the full story after reading Michael Fagan, the man who snuck into the Queen’s room.
Although it will never be known what really happened, the official story reveals that Fagan woke up Elizabeth II and smoked a cigar with her while they talked for about fifteen minutes, before the palace security subdued him by force.
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In the series, the incident works to address popular sentiment about tough economic measures imposed by Thatcher on the British working class, a complaint that comes first-hand to the sovereign through Fagan.
After five years of controversy, a record unemployment rate that sparked massive protests and a crisis within his own party, Thatcher was removed from office in 1990 after eleven and a half years at the helm of the UK.
Despite their differences, the abrupt departure of ‘the Iron Lady’ from Downing Street caused outrage in the Queen, who 12 days after her dismissal decorated her with the Order of Merit, one of the highest distinctions of the British Crown.
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