This is what the relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher was really like

Thatcher apparently gave the Queen washing up gloves as a gift

Season four of The Crown has finally dropped on Netflix and it’s shaping up to be the best series yet. Not only does it cover the beginning of Charles and Diana, but also the very frosty relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher, but what exactly was their relationship like?

Gillian Anderson joins the cast of The Crown to take on the iconic role of Britain’s first female prime minister. Even from her first scene with the Queen, played by Olivia Coleman, it’s clear the two aren’t going to be the best of friends.

Margaret Thatcher was prime minister for over 10 years during an incredibly turbulent time in British history and her handling of certain situations has been said to have impacted her relationship with the Queen, which we will see in later episodes of season four.

But what exactly was the real Queen and Margaret Thatcher’s relationship actually like? This is everything we know:

What did Margaret Thatcher say about the Queen?

Unfortunately neither Margaret Thatcher nor the Queen ever said much directly about the other one. However Margaret Thatcher did touch on her relationship with the Queen in her autobiography.

She detailed the logistics of the audiences she had with the Queen and then makes further a two further points.

Margaret Thatcher goes onto say they are not just a catchup meeting and the Queen was very knowledgeable about current events.

She said: “Perhaps it is permissible to make just two points about these meetings. Anyone who imagines that they are a mere formality or confined to social niceties is quite wrong; they are quietly businesslike and Her Majesty brings to bear a formidable grasp of current issues and breadth of experience.”

The former prime minister concludes her statement about the Queen in her autobiography by saying any rumours of the two not getting along were down to tabloids who couldn’t resist “stories of clashes between ‘two powerful women’”.

She wrote: “Although the press could not resist the temptation to suggest disputes between the Palace and Downing Street, especially on Commonwealth affairs, I always found the Queen’s attitude towards the work of the government absolutely correct.

“Of course, under the circumstances, stories of clashes between ‘two powerful women’ were just too good not to make up. In general, more nonsense was written about the so-called ‘feminine factor’ during my time in office than about almost anything else.”

What did the Queen think of Margaret Thatcher?

Whilst the two are thought to have had a rather frosty personal relationship, Robert Hardman’s book about the Queen suggests she did admire Thatcher’s accomplishments.

He said she had a “profound respect” for everything Thatcher had achieved and had “a mild fascination in learning what made her tick”.

However despite this the Queen is said to have been gravely concerned about the way Margaret Thatcher was creating division.

John Campbell who wrote Thatcher’s biography said the Queen: “Feared that the Government’s policies were wilfully exacerbating social divisions: she worried about high unemployment and was alarmed by the 1981 riots and the violence of the miners’ strike.”

Anyone who has watched The Crown, knows how much the Queen cares about the Commonwealth and apparently this was a spot of contention between the two. Thatcher is thought to have found the Commonwealth a “problem” and a “distraction”.

What were some of the main problems the Queen and Margaret Thatcher had?

Not only was the Commonwealth a sore spot for the Queen, but she apparently did not like Margaret Thatcher acting as if she was Head of State.

There were minor problems such as Thatcher not allowing the Queen to visit the European Parliament or The Soviet Union. But there were bigger problems such as Thatcher taking the salute at the “forces’ victory parade” after the Falklands War, which many thought the Queen should have done.

Thatcher’s foreign visits ended up often appearing like royal tours and she used the royal plural “we” to announce when she became a grandmother, she said: “We have become a grandmother.”

The two also clashed over South African’s apartheid. The Queen wanted the UK government to impose sanctions on South Africa whereas Thatcher was firmly against it and regarded Nelson Mandela as a “terrorist”.

Did Margaret Thatcher really not like going to Balmoral?

In episode two of season four, we see Margaret Thatcher visit Balmoral. She finds the whole thing very uncomfortable and is out of place amongst the royals.

And this is just like real life apparently. Margaret Thatcher is thought to have described going to Balmoral as “purgatory” and said it was a “different world”.

However her visit to Balmoral ended up giving Thatcher a gift idea. She apparently saw the Queen washing up without gloves and so bought her some for Christmas.

The Crown season four is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

Featured image credit: Netflix

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