There were a lot of unforgettable moments during Lady Thatcher’s splendidly British send off.
That flawless reading by granddaughter Amanda Thatcher, the Pippa of the funeral. The concentration and strain etched on the faces of the pallbearers as they carried the coffin up and down the 24 steps of St Paul’s.
The Queen just being the Queen. The Bishop of London’s tremendous speech. And of course — blub! — George Osborne’s tears.
Unsurprisingly, some frenemies have derided the Chancellor for becoming emotional during the service. What a big girl’s blouse, some said. After all, he apparently only met Mrs T once.
Whereas many on the Left insisted: ‘We’re the ones who should be crying, not him, after what he has done to this country blah blah blah.’ On and on and on. Same old stuck record. Let’s give the cry-baby Tory boy a bash. All of it misplaced. All so unfair. All unkind.
So dry your eyes, Georgie Porgie. Chin up and blow your nose. For the truth is that a great number of people, including myself, think more of you for crying at Lady Thatcher’s funeral — not less.
Funerals bring all sorts of deep-seated emotions swirling to the surface. They dig into your soul in unexpected and profound ways.
Sob story: George weeps
Whether they are being held for a close friend or relative, or even a comparative stranger, the mind is suddenly focused on what really matters.
They provide a rare moment of communion in public life when we directly and collectively address the subject of death. Head on.
And funerals are not just about the deceased.
They make us contemplate the mortality of ourselves and our own loved ones. In short, they are heart-searing occasions in which anything can set a mourner off; a snatch of music, a favourite hymn, the vicar’s words.
Osborne’s tipping point came during the touching and original address by Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London. It was when the bishop said the words ‘our hearts go out’ to Lady Thatcher’s children and her family that a spasm of distress first passed across the Chancellor’s pale face.
He blinked madly, trying to control his emotions, as the bishop went on to tell a story about a young boy who had written to Mrs Thatcher asking if she had ever done anything wrong.
There was a flash of a watery smile. And then he was undone. One great, fat tear slid down his cheek, closely followed by another.
He looked utterly stricken as he pawed the tears away. In one startling lachrymose moment, it became clear that the iron Chancellor had a soul.
That he was not the hard-hearted political automaton of popular legend after all.
Later on Wednesday, he alluded to his reaction by writing on Twitter that it had been a ‘moving, almost overwhelming day’.
All of this has made him seem a gentler and more likeable chap.
Compare his reaction with the rare public occasions when arid-eyed Tony Blair, for example, cranked up enough compassion juice to make it look like he was crying or about to cry.
That always seemed so contrived, as if Alastair Campbell had just texted him with an order to squeeze out a tear, pronto. In contrast, George’s silent weep was the real deal — take it from one who knows. No matter how much I steel myself in advance, I always cry at funerals — and at weddings, too.
Christenings can also set off the old waterworks, and please don’t even mention nativity plays. I practically had to be stretchered out of the last one I attended. The utter innocence of little children with tea towels on their heads and crayoned moustaches as they follow the star to Bethlehem gets me every time.
Spontaneous tears are a basic human reaction. As I wipe my own away time after time, I always feel sorry for the boys.
Sad that there is so much more pressure on men not to cry in public because it is seen as weak and unmanly by some.
Why should men not cry at the big moments in life? They are affected just as much as women.
What is less acceptable are sportsmen or women blubbing fit to burst at those twin imposters of victory and defeat.
Or sobbing actors weeping a Niagara as they collect their latest Oscar or Golden Globe.
However, crying at a funeral is an entirely different matter. Even Nick Clegg agrees. The Lib Dem leader did not cry himself on Wednesday, but said it was a powerful occasion full of ceremony and that everyone should have the liberty to blub if they wanted. He’s right.
The thing is, a funeral is not just for the deceased. It is also an occasion when we contemplate all the other funerals we have attended; that sad little stockade of crosses, lodged deep in our hearts.
It is also when we consider, with dread, those funerals yet to happen. It is an entirely difficult affair, full of emotional pitfalls and dark hurts.
So if we are going to mock a man for crying at a funeral, even at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, then as a society we are lost.
With so many cameras innocently trained on the Boston bombings, the outrage has produced many unforgettable images. One thing we witnessed was this: there will always be those who run towards the smoke and those who will run away.
I recall travelling on the Tube in the aftermath of the July 7 London bombings when a man pushed a large canvas bag onto the train, then turned away. He was actually reaching for his other bag but I was off, thundering down to the other end of the carriage.
I dare say that if a granny — even my own granny — was in the way, I probably would have trampled all over her. So I salute the courage of those people who did not run, who stopped to help their maimed and wounded fellow citizens instead. What heroes you all are.
No class from Clarkson or Katherine's cleavage
Cathedral cleavage: Katherine Jenkins attended Baroness Thatcher's funeral this week sporting a plunging neckline
The funeral — have we said enough about it? How sad and yet marvellous it all was?
How tremendous that singer Katherine Jenkins’s racy appearance at St Paul’s has added a new term to the lexicon of boob-flashing delinquency — cathedral cleavage.
And how awful of TV star Jeremy Clarkson to post such a rancorous despatch about his own attendance at the funeral in The Sun.
If he felt so bad about it all, why did he bother going? He was particularly rude about the Duke of Edinburgh, who — according to the Top Gear presenter — had not blown his nose properly when he arrived at the cathedral. The words ‘enormous stalactite of snot’ were used with no shame.
Yes, it’s awful when you get caught short in public, isn’t it? As Clarkson, who is always being photographed snogging women who are not his wife, knows.
And it was rather harsh on the Duke, who seemed on splendid form as he nipped up the steps of the cathedral. He will be 92 in two months and still has no need of spectacles, walking stick or hearing aid. He still works hard, too, with dozens of engagements lined up including away days in Britain before flying to Canada next week where he will be presenting new colours to the Royal Canadian Regiment in Toronto.
Meanwhile, all Jeremy could do was moan about the Duke, the horses, the quality of the sandwiches and wine at the receptions afterwards. Instead of being grateful for the enormous privilege of being there at such a defining moment of our times. How snotty can you get?
Anyway, never mind the Duke of Edinburgh’s appearance — what about JC himself? At the funeral, he looked like a half-chipped sack of spuds poured into a suit he’d nicked off Rick Astley.
Stop moaning, Tom...we can't afford a Ford original
Little sympathy: Few people can afford Tom Ford originals
Tom Ford has been complaining about High Street store Zara copying his designs. Tough. Apart from the fashion editors who are ‘gifted’ his clothes, few will have sympathy with his plight. We’d all love to buy Tom Ford originals — but who can afford them?
A Tom Ford jacket is £2,500. A pair of his sunglasses is £230. Even a lipstick from his range is £36. It is plum crazy.
Designer fashion has now become like buying a house in a desirable part of London — completely unaffordable for ordinary people.
Flick through net-a-porter and you will find a cotton T-shirt from Balmain at £598.
A silk camisole from Dolce & Gabbana for £425.
Shoes? Don’t get me started. When did they start being so exorbitant and so beyond the reach of the once well-heeled — but not any more — consumer?
This week I saw a pair of simple Marc Jacobs sandals and thought, oh, they’d be nice for summer. But not at £500 smackeroos, thanks very much.
The economics of fashion are completely baffling. Garments designed in the first world, generally made in the third world, then sold in exclusive stores in the best parts of town? It just doesn’t add up to a fair deal.
So carry on moaning, Tom. It’s your own fault for charging so much. The only place ordinary girls can get decent copies of high fashion is on the High Street. So thanks Uniqlo, Mango, Zara and the rest — we’re all so grateful.
THE MP Jacob Rees-Mogg was among the small number of gentlemen who wore top hats to Lady Thatcher’s funeral. Tremendous! For pray what, tell me, is more splendid than a black silk top hat?
Not only are they beautiful to behold, a topper is the most potent symbol of upper-class elitism, real or imagined, in the land.
You might as well write TOFF in ballpoint pen on your forehead.
Or TOFF-EE, if you happen to be a wannabe trying to sneak into the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.
Meanwhile, on the streets of London and elsewhere, it is now practically an act of anarchy to wear one. Which make them highly desirable hats.
So more toppers, please, before they go the way of the bowler and the bonnet to the great hat-stand in the sky.
Kate's awesome faith
Kate McCann is prepared to forgive her daughter Madeleine's abductor
Next month it will be six years since Madeleine McCann disappeared. In an interview this week, her mother Kate said she could probably find it in her heart to forgive her daughter’s abductor.
It was a remarkable thing to say — and even to think.
To suffer the loss of a child in such traumatic circumstances is a horrendous ordeal for any parent. Not to know whether she is alive or dead simply piles on the agony.
The McCanns chose to cling onto the hope that Madeleine is still alive.
This means that Mrs McCann is prepared to forgive an abductor whom she believes continues to hold her daughter.
She is ready to forgive someone she knows nothing about, who perhaps has abducted other children, too.
Human resilience is amazing — and so is the strength of Mrs McCann’s Roman Catholic faith.
She seems to have found a way to bear the unbearable, which is both admirable and incredible at the same time.