Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne since 1952. In the course of seven decades, the monarch has seen a slew of Prime Ministers come in and out of the country. Some have been better than others. Though the royals are supposed to be apolitical, unable to comment on things like the disaster that is Brexit or other government faults –the queen hasn’t always kept her feelings to herself.
Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, has been called incredibly difficult. Though both women were similar in age and in massively influential positions in a male-dominated world, they simply did not see eye-to-eye.
As two women with very different backgrounds trying to make their way through the post-war years — their feud was one full of animosity.
Margaret Thatcher thought of herself as the ‘real’ queen
As the leader of the Conservative Party with Thatcherite thinkers at her feet — the late Prime Minister had contempt for the monarchy. She perceived it as an “old flabby” institution. Thatcher also greatly disliked the queen’s tolerance of left-wing dictators throughout the Commonwealth.
Still, in public, Thatcher presented herself as a supporter of Queen Elizabeth. She wrote in her memoirs, “stories of clashes between ‘two powerful women were just too good not to make up.”
Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher were awkward around each other
The women were always visibly uncomfortable around each other. Andrew Marr wrote in his book, THE REAL ELIZABETH: An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II,
There was an early “stiffness” between the Queen and Mrs. Thatcher. Several say that each of them found the choreography of having two women at the apex of British life slightly awkward, which was why they rarely appeared together.
Thatcher and her followers were annoyed that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were often, “playing at being normal people.” Marr explained, “Thatcher was “a prime minister with a strong sense of authority and deference only trying to help, and a Queen who cannot help feeling irritated by her.”
Queen Elizabeth once threw some major shade at Margaret Thatcher
Late journalist and diarist Kenneth Rose’s private journals have just been published and they reveal exactly how Queen Elizabeth felt about Thatcher. In 1985 Rose wrote,
Jean Trumpington to dine. She relates how when she went to take her leave of the Queen as a Baroness-in-Waiting on being promoted to be Under-Secretary in the Department of Health and Social Security, the Queen said of the PM [Mrs Thatcher]: ‘She stays too long and talks too much. She has lived too long among men.’
Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth’s relationship got easier as time went on
Though these two women were never the best of friends since Tatcher was the seventh-longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom — her relationship with Queen Elizabeth softened over the years. In fact, the leaders would later engage in very vigorous talks. Marr explained, “The Queen always saw the point of Margaret Thatcher. She understood that she was necessary.”