Video: Thatcher gets bronze statue tribute

updated 2/21/2007 9:08:38 PM ET 2007-02-22T02:08:38

The Iron Lady has become bronze.

Despite protests that previous prime ministers had to be dead to rate a statue in Britain's Houses of Parliament, Margaret Thatcher unveiled her silicon bronze likeness at a ceremony Wednesday.

The statue, standing 7 feet, four inches, faces another of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the member's lobby of the Palace of Westminster, the ornate parliamentary building on the bank of the River Thames.

"I might have preferred iron, but bronze will do. It won't rust. And, this time I hope, the head will stay on," Thatcher said, causing her audience to laugh and applaud.

The 81-year-old baroness was referring to a marble statue of her that was decapitated in 2002 by a vandal while on loan to Guildhall, the town hall for the City of London, the capital's financial district.

Thatcher appeared to be cheerful and relaxed, wearing a gold-and-champagne-colored suit that she had worn in 2001 for her 50th wedding anniversary to the late Sir Denis Thatcher.

She also wore pearl earrings and her favorite star brooch.

The statue, by sculptor Antony Dufort, shows her in a typical lively and swashbuckling posture, as though she is addressing the House of Commons, with her right arm outstretched.

She said she was thrilled with it.

Thatcher was the first female British prime minister, serving from 1979 until she resigned during a revolt by her own Conservative Party in 1990.

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