The funeral of former prime minister Baroness Thatcher will be held on Wednesday April 17, David Cameron said today.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are to attend the funeral.

The ceremony, expected to be attended by dignitaries from around the world, will be held at St Paul's cathedral.

A Downing Street spokesman said the date had been agreed at a "co-ordination meeting" with the Thatcher family and Buckingham Palace this morning.

A statement from the Palace said: "The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will attend the funeral service of Baroness Thatcher at St Paul's Cathedral next Wednesday."

The former Prime Minister has been granted a ceremonial funeral with full military honours - the same status that was accorded the Queen Mother and Diana, Princess of Wales.

The streets will be cleared for a procession taking her body from parliament to St Paul's. She will be cremated at a private service afterwards.

There have been calls for Lady Thatcher to be given a state funeral, as wartime leader Winston Churchill was.

However, friends have indicated that she did not want such treatment, and specified that she did not want to lie in state.

Parliament is expected to be suspended for the funeral, meaning the first Prime Minister's Questions session since the Easter break could be cancelled.

Labour MP John Mann questioned why taxpayers' money was being spent recalling Parliament tomorrow, when tributes could be paid after recess next week.

"I would have done it on Monday when Parliament reassembles," he said. "I do not know why we are wasting taxpayers' money on an additional session.

"It is perfectly valid that, when a prime minister dies, MPs can pay tribute, but this could be perfectly properly done on Monday."

Mr Mann said he would not be attending the session tomorrow.

"I will be at the dentist's," he added.

Baroness Thatcher's funeral will be a sombre spectacle accompanied by all the pomp and ceremony befitting someone of her status.

There have been calls for the former prime minister to be granted the honour of a state funeral - something she did not want.

State funerals are generally limited to sovereigns but by order of the Queen and by a vote in Parliament can be extended to exceptionally distinguished people.

National figures like Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and former wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill received the honour.

But the event for Baroness Thatcher, described as a ceremonial funeral with full military honours, will be very similar to a state funeral in terms of its pageantry.

It will also mirror the arrangements for the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Queen Mother.

Lady Thatcher's funeral will feature the public element of the coffin being carried through the streets of London on a gun carriage.

The same honour was bestowed on Diana, the Queen Mother and Churchill and allows ordinary people to pay their respects as the funeral cortege passes by.


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The main difference between the funerals of Churchill and the Baroness is the element of the coffin lying in state.

The wartime leader's coffin was placed in Westminster Hall for three days in 1965 so the public could say goodbye to the veteran politician.

Sir Winston had a guard of honour of officers drawn in turn from the three services who stood with heads bowed at the corners of the bier.

Lying in state is in effect three days of public mourning and huge queues formed, with people patiently waiting to pay their respects.

The day before next Wednesday's funeral Thatcher's coffin will be transferred to the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster.

On the day of the service the casket will be taken by hearse to the Church of St Clement Danes, the RAF Chapel on the Strand, before being transferred to the gun carriage drawn by the King's Troop, Royal Artillery.

Thatcher's funeral cortege will travel from the Strand to St Paul's and it's route will be lined by tri-service military personnel.

At London's famous cathedral a guard of honour will be waiting mounted by members of the Armed Services and Chelsea pensioners from the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

For Churchill's funeral the RAF mounted a guard of honour at St Paul's and the steps were lined by a dismounted detachment from the Household Cavalry in their gleaming breastplates and plumed helmets.

The wartime leader's ceremony also featured gun salutes and a large number of ceremonial military units.