Thatcher And The Lesbian Widow

Here’s a wonderful little tidbit from Alexander Chancellor in the Spectator’s symposium:

In the middle of dinner on Easter Sunday, she demanded that we all go and stand outside in the cold to see the Hale-Bopp comet as it passed overhead. ‘It reminds me of pheasant,’ she said. ‘Doesn’t it you, Mr Chancellor?’ (It didn’t at all, actually.)

On Easter Monday, a beautiful spring day, Alexander Hesketh brought Margaret and Denis Thatcher over to my house at Stoke Park, where she said another surprising thing to me. Staying there with my late uncle Robin was Jacqueline Hope-Wallace, a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher, having once served under her as a civil servant in the Ministry of Pensions in the early 1960s, who was feeling bereft after the death of her long-term friend C.V. (Veronica) Wedgwood, the historian. I didn’t mention that they had been lovers but must have somehow implied it, for Lady Thatcher grasped the point immediately and said, as a very modern person might, ‘I didn’t realise they were partners.’

When they eventually crossed paths on the lawn, Hope-Wallace started to say, ‘You won’t remember me, but…’ when Lady Thatcher briskly interrupted her: ‘Of course I remember you — you wrote that marvellous report on pension reform…’. She went on to recall the names and personalities of all the other civil servants in that department. She thus made a forlorn old lady very happy.