Margaret Thatcher, U.K.’s First Female Prime Minister, Dies of a Stroke

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Margaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister of the U.K. and its longest serving PM of the twentieth century, died this morning of a stroke at age 87. A conservative through and through, Thatcher turned a derisive Soviet nickname for her — the Iron Lady — into a compliment as she privatized British-state-owned industries, deregulated the economy, battled a nationwide coal-union strike, and recaptured the Falkland Islands from Argentina.

These policies made her a natural friend to Ronald Reagan during his presidency and an object of absolute hate in many corners of Britain. Thatcher narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by the Irish Republican Army in 1984 when a bomb at a hotel she was staying at killed five others.

Elected in 1979, Thatcher served eleven years until she was ousted by her own party from office in 1990.