LONDON – Most hosts would be quite happy to have Paul McCartney come to a shindig. But that wasn’t the case with Denis Thatcher in 1988 when planning a gala reception at 10 Downing Street.
Newly released papers show that the late husband of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put a question mark next to the former Beatle’s name on a proposed guest list he was reviewing.
The papers, released Saturday, show Denis Thatcher putting check marks next to the guests he approved and question marks next to those he was less comfortable with.
The papers didn’t offer an explanation of why he questioned the Beatle. In a note, he wrote that he didn’t mind inviting guests who didn’t back the prime minister but questioned inviting those who had criticized his wife in public.
“Whilst I accept of course that not everyone who comes to our receptions are necessarily on ‘our’ side I find it both unpleasant and embarrassing to entertain those who publicly insult the PM,” he said.
The documents show he also questioned the inclusion of naturalist David Attenborough, track star Sebastian Coe, and singer Shirley Bassey, best known for the “Goldfinger” title track.
He had no problem with other prominent figures, including composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber and actress Judi Dench. It also showed he approved the inclusion of Rolf Harris, a popular TV entertainer who decades later was convicted of sexually abusing young girls.
The newly released papers also show that Margaret Thatcher loaned her teddy bear to the Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1988 so that it could be put on display.
The Margaret Thatcher Foundation is gradually releasing her private files. The public will be able to view much of the archive starting on Monday at www.margaretthatcher.org.