From her rigid eating habits to her favourite labels, discover some fashionable facts about the late Baroness Thatcher.
1. Thatcher’s handbag came to symbolise her tenacity and firm negotiation style. As a member of Britain’s Parliament remarked in 1982, “She can’t look at a British institution without hitting it with her handbag.” The term ‘handbagging’ became its own phrase and was eventually included in the Oxford English Dictionary.
2. Thatcher was rigid about what she ate. “It’s often best, you know: to do without completely. You can’t indulge. It will sit on your hips,” she said of her penchant for “lovely toast and marmalade” and chocolates. “I find it hard to stop at one.”
“They put nice bread rolls beside you,” she once sighed. “And you try not to eat them, even if you are waiting a very long time between courses.”
3. She was widely known as T.B.W. – “That Bloody Woman” – and was criticised for her voice, that was considered too shrill, and her clothes, that were considered too fussy and too dowdy. Her irregular teeth were also the subject of much criticism.
4. She avidly cleansed and moisturised her skin daily. “From my teens. I’ve looked after my skin,” Thatcher said of her beauty regime. “I never use soap and water on it, although I come from a very soap-and-water minded family. However late and however tired I use cleanser to get the make-up off, and then a good moisturiser.”
7. The late French President François Mitterrand is said to have described Margaret Thatcher’s appearance as ‘Brigitte Bardot with Caligula’s eyes’.
8. Thatcher made the transformation from ‘barmaid blonde’ to a more classic shade in order to be taken more seriously, but expected the colour change to be immediate. “She wasn’t best pleased when I informed her that her colour correction would have to be done in stages!” hair colourist Daniel Galvin told Elle .
9. On the marks Thatcher’s pale suits used to suffer after well-wishers touched her on her public rounds: “I love it,” she said. “Touching is an affectionate thing.”
10. “I have to remember to keep my head up all the time,” noted Thatcher with regards to the most unflattering body part of an older woman. “If you lower your chin while giving a speech then you look all double chins.”
11. The Iron Lady reportedly loved British heritage label Aquascutum. According to the label’s former director, Margaret King (who went on to be the PM’s stylist), she “loved Aquascutum because it was an English family firm. Her mother was a dressmaker, and she just adored the ethos of the company.”
12. Thatcher once described her handbag as “the only safe place in Downing Street”.
13. Knowing how important a good hairstyle can make you feel, it was reported that Thatcher often wrote ahead to British ambassadors to request a good local hairdresser, who used heated Carmen rollers (her favourite) on her international trips.