Thatcher coffin taken to Parliament before funeral

LONDON (AP) - The body of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was taken on Tuesday to the Houses of Parliament in London, where it will rest overnight before her funeral.

The coffin, draped in a red, white and blue Union flag, was driven to and placed in the crypt of the chapel of St Mary Undercroft, where about 100 family members, colleagues and senior politicians were attending a private service for the late British leader.

The woman nicknamed the "Iron Lady" transformed Britain during her 11-year tenure from 1979 to 1990. She died on April 8 at age 87.

Mrs Thatcher is being given a ceremonial funeral with full military honours - to the chagrin of some Britons who view her legacy as a socially and economically divided country.

On Wednesday morning, her coffin will travel by hearse to the church of St Clement Danes before being borne on a horse-drawn gun carriage to St Paul's Cathedral.

More than 4,000 police officers will be on duty as part of a major security operation, stepped up after Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded over 170.

More than 700 soldiers, sailors and air force personnel will line the route, and Parliament's Big Ben bell will be silenced for the funeral of Mrs Thatcher, whose death certificate gives her profession as "stateswoman (retired)".

Some 2,000 family members, politicians and dignitaries from around the world are planning to attend. Former US secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and James Baker will be among the guests associated with Mrs Thatcher's time in office attending the service.

The service will include hymns and passages from the Bible read by Prime Minister David Cameron and the late premier's granddaughter, Ms Amanda Thatcher.

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