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A sad shadow of Iron Lady

London, Aug. 3 (PTI): Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady who transformed Britain during her 11 years tenure as Prime Minister, is today a sad shadow of her former self.

Thirteen years after she was evicted from Downing Street, Lady Thatcher is a lonely, forgetful and almost friendless figure on the edge of senility, a television documentary on her life, to be telecast tonight on Channel 4, indicated. Carol, her daughter, a journalist who interviewed both her parents for the programme, is deeply worried about her health and her finances.

The death of Thatcher’s husband Denis Thatcher five weeks ago has left her without the man who had been her lifeline for more than 50 years. “She has been abandoned and forgotten, with few close friends to share her old age,” said the television producer Linda McDougall, who met her while making the programme with Carol about Denis shortly before his death.

In an extraordinary and very touching interview, which was recorded in March this year, with Carol, Thatcher talked of her triumphs and her tragedies. The documentary shows that the former Prime Minister now has great difficulty facing life in her 78th year because a number of small strokes have affected her mental and physical health.

Thatcher agreed to be interviewed “because it was family” even though last year her doctors had said she should not speak publicly again.

McDougall, who has known Lady Thatcher for nearly 30 years, was “shocked” by the changes she found in her when they met. “I had always envied her confidence. Now I could see only fear and uncertainty,” he wrote in the Sunday Times.

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