Born Margaret Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, Thatcher was a research chemist before she became involved in politics. After serving as a member of Britain's Parliament, Education Secretary and Leader of the Opposition, Thatcher became the first female prime minister of Britain. She served as the leader of Britain's Conservative Party from 1979 to 1990 and was nicknamed "The Iron Lady" for her uncompromising demeanor.
Thatcher retired from public life in 2002 after suffering a series of strokes and has been in relatively poor health in recent years. She is survived by her children, Mark and Carol. Her husband, Denis, died in 2003.