Those six black horses were truly wonderful. I loved the way they resisted pulling the gun carriage as if they would much rather have been somewhere else having fun with a carrot or two. The soldiers looked fine too – grown up versions of my childhood models. The red jackets and big busby hats look at their best when they are lined up together en masse just as I did with mine on my bedroom floor.
The military band music was magnificent – there’s nothing like a grand funeral march especially when written by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Chopin. All those elements made the ceremony a wonderful thing to watch as it slowly marched on its way through some of London’s most loved landmarks
St Paul’s Cathedral looked impressive too just as Sir Christopher Wren planned when he designed it during the days of Queen Anne. The effect was enhanced by the music sung by the excellent cathedral choir and by the stark contrast of all those black mourning suits with Wren’s gleaming white stonework harmonised by the black and white floor tiles.
Everyone looks nice in black.
So I enjoyed watching the spectacle on television last Wednesday morning while I was recovering from a few days without sleep. Forgive me though if I say it didn’t really matter what was in that coffin that was prettily draped in red white and blue and garlanded with white roses.
On Monday all those soldiers and horses did a dress rehearsal with an empty box and I couldn’t help thinking that it all would have been just as impressive if, instead of Margaret Thatcher’s remains, it had merely contained some garden rubbish and, maybe, all those newspapers that couldn’t find anything else to write about last week. The only part of the ceremony that felt false was that it was happening at all. It would have been more appropriate to have given the grand old lady a dignified private funeral and a memorial service at St Paul’s. Then we might not have felt that politics had encroached where it was never meant to be.