Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sir Denis Thatcher, 1st Baronet KBE, ( MBE ) (May 10, 1915 - June 26, 2003) was a businessman, and husband of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher. He was born in Lewisham, South London, the son of a New Zealand businessman.
Early Life / Work
During World War II he served in the 34th Searchlight (Queen's Own Royal West Kent) regiment of the Royal Engineers before being promoted to the rank of Major. He was twice mentioned in dispatches and in 1945 was awarded an MBE.
In 1950 while attending a Conservative Party function he met Margaret Hilda Roberts, a chemist and British politician who later became the first female Prime Minister. They were married the next year. In rare communications with the press, he referred to her as "The Boss".
Public Life and Perceptions
The public perception of his character was formed chiefly from a series of spoof letters published in the satirical magazine Private Eye in the 1980s. The "Dear Bill" column written by Richard Ingrams and John Wells took the form of a letter purported to be from Denis to his real life friend and golfing partner Bill Deedes (former editor of The Daily Telegraph), detailing life at Number 10. The letters portrayed Denis Thatcher as a reactionary interested only in golf and gin. John Wells used the character portrayed in the letters, and created the stage play Anyone For Denis (also shown on television). Ulster Unionist David Burnside recalled a reception in Blackpool "to which Sir Denis came along with his minder and declared: ' I don't know what reception I'm at, but for God's sake give me a gin and tonic.' "
Margaret Thatcher, however, often acknowledged her husband's support. In her autobiography she wrote "I could never have been prime minister for more than 11 years without Denis by my side".
Prime Minister Tony Blair called him a "kind and generous-hearted man, a real gentleman who had many friends here and abroad."
Denis Thatcher's one public interview, in 2002, was released as a DVD, Married to Maggie.
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