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Mourners bid farewell to Denis Thatcher

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, flanked by her two children, appeared frail Thursday as she arrived at a London chapel for the funeral of her husband of more than 50 years.

Twins Mark and Carol Thatcher put their arms around Lady Thatcher's waist as they entered the chapel at historic Royal Hospital, Chelsea, behind the coffin of Sir Denis Thatcher, who died June 26 at age 88.

The coffin, draped in the British Union Jack flag, was covered with red roses and white lilies.

Among the 120 mourners at the private service was Sir Denis' old friend Lord Deedes, 90, one of Britain's most famous journalists.

Others at the chapel included members of Lady Thatcher's former Cabinet, including Lord Parkinson, Lord Wakeham, Lord Butler and her former press secretary, Sir Bernard Ingham.

Denis Thatcher, described by his wife as a "golden thread" running through her life, underwent coronary bypass surgery in January and had been hospitalized for several weeks before his death at London's Lister Hospital.

Lady Thatcher, 77, suffered a series of small strokes last year that forced her to give up most public speaking engagements.

As the coffin left the chapel it received a salute from an honor guard of the Chelsea Pensioners, who live at the hospital and are famous for their bright red tunics.

Lord Deedes said Lady Thatcher was all right.

"Everything was exactly right. She was jolly pleased with it. She was fine. She is a strong woman and she will be fine," he said.

"It was a wonderful service," Carol Thatcher said, adding that her father would have been very pleased. "This was the most perfect place to have it. They spent many Sundays here together."

The funeral was to be followed by cremation.