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Tag: Margaret Thatcher

The Iron Lady was not always so steely

Perhaps Reagan could have given Thatcher some advice on tough audiences? (Original caption: Photograph of President Reagan walking with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Camp David, 11/06/1986; Reagan Library, ARC 198578)

Today’s guest post comes from Miriam Kleiman of the National Archives Public Affairs Office.

The National Archives and Hollywood again converge, this time in a lengthy Foreign Service cable, declassified in 2006. Dated October 15, 1975, and sent from the U.S. Ambassador Elliot Richardson (of Watergate fame) in London to the U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the cable details Margaret Thatcher’s dramatic political debut as leader of the Conservative Party at its Blackpool conference a week earlier.

Thirty-six years before Meryl Streep starred as Thatcher in The Iron Lady, Ambassador Richardson noted the “obvious anxiety” reflected in Thatcher’s voice. She delivered a “highly skilled and effective presentation,” but he notes that “perhaps as a result of her nervousness, spoke charmingly using a lower-pitched voice with an occasional Ethel Merman belt [my emphasis added].”  At the conference “Mrs. Thatcher was its undoubted star and gave a virtuoso performance in the role.” It is unfortunate that Hollywood writers missed this cable.

Sent from the U.S. Embassy in London, the cable’s subject line is “Conservative Party Conference: Margaret’s Conference.” Her speech was the conference highlight, following days of what Richardson calls “plodding through agenda.” Ambassador … [ Read all ]