Thatcher’s outfits, handbags on show ahead of auction

The late Margaret Thatcher’s clothes, jewellery and of course iconic handbags, along with the former British prime minister’s personal and political mementoes are up for sale at Christie’s auction house in London next week.


The auctioneer said 150 lots will go under the hammer on December 15 in London, with a further 200 sold by online auction between December 3 and December 16.

The items include a red leather ministerial dispatch box, an award from Thatcher’s friend and ally President Ronald Reagan, her 1951 wedding outfit and an Art Deco emerald and diamond necklace by Chaumet, valued at between $A254,000 and $A380,000 (20,000 and 180,000 pounds).

Branded “the Iron Lady” for her steely determination, Thatcher governed Britain between 1979 and 1990, transforming the country with her free-market policies.

Her practice of berating ministers and lawmakers became known as “handbagging.”

Thatcher died in April 2013, aged 87, and the collection, valued at up to 500,000 pounds, is being sold by her family.

Some felt the collection should go on public display, and British media reported that London’s Victoria and Albert Museum had turned it down.

The government’s Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, tweeted: “Shame the V&A has turned down Thatcher’s personal collection. I for one would have loved to see it!”

But the museum said it had never received a formal offer. It said that “several years ago, a general discussion took place to explore whether some pieces from the wardrobe of Baroness Thatcher might be added to the V&A’s collection.”

It said the conversations “did not develop” and “no formal offer was made for the museum to acquire the collection.”