Margaret Thatcher suffered from anxiety and could be reduced to tears by the pressure of being Prime Minister


MARGARET Thatcher often suffered from anxiety and could be reduced to tears as The Iron Lady buckled under the pressure of being Prime Minister.

A BBC 2 documentary to mark the 40th anniversary of her becoming PM, also reveals how behind the scenes she was an approachable human being who was “down to earth and kind.”

 The Iron Lady is thought to have suffered with anxiety during her time as Prime Minister due to the pressures which came with running the country

Ken Lennox

The Iron Lady is thought to have suffered with anxiety during her time as Prime Minister due to the pressures which came with running the country

Thatcher: A Very British Revolution looks at the person behind the politician as well as her rise from grocer’s daughter to premiere in 1979.

The five-part show, which starts on Monday, includes revealing interviews with the staff who worked with her during her 11-years in Downing Street.

Speaking in the documentary, Mrs Thatcher’s private secretary for foreign affairs, John Coles said: “I’ve seen her weeping, I’ve seen her desperately anxious – that’s not The Iron Lady image, but it was very much a part of her.

“We were there all the time remember, in the bad times and the good times, so you saw the chinks. You saw the moments when an issue really bothered her and worried her”

Her private secretary for home affairs, Nick Sanders recalled how she would try to help her personal staff of 100 if they had serious family problems.

He said: “She would stop whatever she was doing and ask us alot of questions about whether we’d done the right thing, whether we’d been in touch with the right people, about whether we’d been given all the support we could. It was not synthetic, it was who she was.”

She was relentless, highly demanding. But, sometimes unpredictably, she could be quite cautious, pragmatic, down to earth, kind

Personal bodyguard Barry Strevens

Her personal bodyguard Barry Strevens said: “I felt like she was a bit of a mother to me, she was always asking about my family and stuff. And she always said to me, or whoever was in charge, make sure the boys are eating and the drivers are looked after.”

Most Britons will simply recall Mrs Thatcher, who died in 2013 aged 87, as a no-nonsense authoritarian. But her private secretary for economic affairs, Tim Lankester, said she was far more complex than her public image.

He said: “She was relentless, highly demanding. But, sometimes unpredictably, she could be quite cautious, pragmatic, down to earth, kind.”

He added: “She was an actor, in a sense. She knew to retain the aura of leadership she had to show that she was in control.”

But behind closed doors women who worked with her revealed how they would casually chat to her about clothes and hairstyles.

Colleague Wendy Baron, Director of the Government Art Collection, said: “She was a proper human being as well as everything else. She was approachable…if you dared to approach her. And too few people did.”

 The new five-part series Thatcher: A Very British Revolution begins on Monday on BBC2

WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures’ Digital Picture

The new five-part series Thatcher: A Very British Revolution begins on Monday on BBC2
 The documentary also reveals Thatcher was an approachable, down to earth and kind woman

Corbis – Getty

The documentary also reveals Thatcher was an approachable, down to earth and kind woman
Vintage footage shows Margaret Thatcher speaking immediately after news of Tory MP Airey Neave’s death



 





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