Facts About Controversial Prime Ministers – Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher holding a speechMargaret Thatcher is one of the most divisive figures in British history. More than three decades have passed since she was last in power but her legacy is still the subject of heated debates in both the United Kingdom and the world.

Her role as Britain’s Prime Minister was recently brought back to life in The Crown’s fourth season. She is portrayed by the talented American actress Gillian Anderson and her presence in the series quickly reignited the people’s interest in the Iron Lady. Here are several interesting facts about Thatcher’s life before becoming the leader of the British people.

Margaret Thatcher's childhood home in Grantham, LincolnshireMargaret Thatcher (née Roberts) was born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, Lincolnshire. She had a modest but comfortable childhood, living with her family in an apartment above her parents’ grocery store. Her father, Alfred Robers was a preacher and local politician, which most likely influenced her to pursue a career in politics.

Her Hard Work Got Her Into the University of Oxford

Birdeye's view of Oxford University, Thatcher's alma materShe was admitted to Oxford in 1943 and graduated in 1947 with a degree in chemistry. She specialized under the Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Dorothy Hodgkin in X-ray crystallography.

After Oxford, she started working as a chemist for BX Plastics in Colchester. One year later, she applied for a job at Imperial Chemical Industries, but was denied the position as she was seen to be “headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated”. It was also at that time that she started to get involved in politics.

Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis entering 10 Downing Street after becoming Britain's Prime MinisterIn 1949, Margaret Roberts met her future-husband Denis Thatcher, a WWII veteran, and a successful businessman. Ten years later, the Iron Lady made her breakthrough in politics by being elected as the Conservative MP for the county of Finchley.

Margaret Thatcher Climbed the British Political Ladder to Its Very Top

Former British Prime Minister, Edward Heath gave Thatcher her first major government role when he appointed her as the Secretary of State for Education and Science. She used her position to gain popularity within her party and in 1979 became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom succeeding the position from James Callaghan.

Margaret Thatcher giving an interview after winning the elections for Prime Minister
Whether one sees Margaret Thatcher as the woman who saved Britain from economic decline or the Prime Minister who destroyed the livelihoods of countless workers, it’s an undeniable fact that she marked the European and world history.