Things we learn about Margaret Thatcher from her 1984 papers

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1. She personally wrote to her hairdresser to apologise for cancelling an appointment on the morning of the attack

A secretary initially called to cancel the appointment on Friday Oct 12, asking for the bill to be sent to Downing Street.

However Mrs Thatcher, who was praised for her “courage” and “calm” after the attack, then sent her own note to the hairdresser, William Thorne, who was a locally-based colleague of her regular stylist in London.

She said: “I was very pleased with the way you did my hair, and the fact that it lasted so well through Friday was the real test. Thank you again.”

Margaret Thatcher christening a new variety of rose with champagne, named in her honour and presented to her by the German Horticultural Society (ALAMY)

2. British diplomats had to help soothe an international row over the naming of a rose after Mrs Thatcher

She readily agreed to a request by the German Central Horticultural Association to name a flower in her honour.

But a Japanese firm heard about the move and pointed out that she had granted it permission for a Margaret Thatcher rose some years earlier.

Eventually the matter was quietly dropped after a carefully worded letter by British diplomats, but the saga stretches over more than 40 pages in the former prime minister’s 1984 private papers.

Mrs Thatcher approvingly noted that the rose was “robust, stands strong on stems, and is very long-lasting.”

3. In 1983 she believed her reign was coming to an end

Following her resounding success in the 1983 election Mrs Thatcher told one of her closest aides: “I have not long to go”.

In a previously unpublished account, Sir John Coles, her then private secretary for foreign affairs, discloses that she made the “remarkable” statement within three days of her victory.

When he queried her comment she added: “My party won’t want me to lead them into the next election—and I don’t blame them”.

4. The Iron Lady came face-to-face with Steve Jobs three decades ago

Jobs, then 29, was present at a dinner in Mrs Thatcher’s honour, held at the US ambassador’s residence in London in April 1984.

Edward Streator, a US diplomat who also attended the dinner, told the Telegraph that the idea behind the event was “to get a powerhouse of leading American businessmen to come over and meet the prime minister.”

He added: “It’s almost certain Thatcher and Jobs would have met because it was a small event and an effort was made to introduce everyone to the prime minster.”

The menu for the dinner shows the pair were offered a three course meal starting with sea bass and finishing with a rasberry dessert.

5. Her “enemy within” phrase may have been inspired by a Methodist hymn

Chris Collins, a historian at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, said Mrs Thatcher was likely to have seen the term “the enemy within” as part of her Methodist upbringing.

Charles Wesley’s Methodist Hymnal contains the words as a reference to human weakness: “But worse than all my foes I find, the enemy within.”

It described the “enemy within” as “the evil heart, the carnal mind,/My own insidious sin.”

Mr Collins said the verse from Wesley’s book was a “more plausible and personal source” than an Enoch Powell speech which had previously been suggested as the inspiration for the controversial phrase.

Conservative Party members sit around the foyer of The Metropole Hotel after they were evacuated (ALAMY)

6. Friends warned Mrs Thatcher’s aides to look after her in the wake of the Brighton bombing

In the days after the Brighton tragedy friends wrote to Mrs Thatcher praising her “courage, calm and nobility” in its aftermath.

However, Bill Deedes, then the editor of the Daily Telegraph, who was an officer in the Second World War, wrote to Michael Alison, Mrs Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary, warning him that his boss would suffer “delayed shock” over the attack.

“Delayed shock is serious and – I learned in the war – worst for the bravest,” he wrote.

“I know you will look after it.”

7. A senior aide believed Mrs Thatcher may have “missed a trick” by not taking the mining union to court

On 17 July 1984 Mrs Thatcher’s closest adviser on the strike at No.10, her economics private secretary Andrew Turnbull, questioned the government’s decision not to use its own union laws to take civil legal action against the National Union of Mineworkers.

Commenting on a letter from a self-proposed mediator in the dispute. he said: “On handling, he argues that the Government and the NCB [National Coal Board] have missed a trick by not invoking the civil law. With hindsight he may be right.

“If we had known how solid the working miners would be, how much coal could be moved by road and how long the striking miners would hold out we might have come to a different judgment some weeks ago.

“But that is water under the bridge and the likelihood of civil action is now much greater, particularly if the dock strike is not settled soon.”

8. Mrs Thatcher ignored a recommendation to attend Sir Geoffrey Howe’s session at the 1984 Tory conference

The papers show that Mrs Thatcher accepted all of the recommendations by Sir Stephen Sherbourne, her then political secretary, for which debates to attend at the conference – bar one.

The session addressed by Sir Geoffrey was crossed out in blue ink on the programme sent to her by Sir Stephen.

9. Mrs Thatcher argued with her diary secretary over her appointments

On one occasion Caroline Ryder warned Mrs Thatcher against encouraging a “cult of personality” when she was invited to open an old people’s home in Dartford named “Thatcher Court”.

Mrs Thatcher’s reply was blunt.

She wrote: “I stood for Dartford in 1950 & 1951. My husband’s old firm was in the constituency. There are reasons why I should say yes. MT”

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