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Last updated at 14:35 BST, Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Thatcher photos and phrases

Britain's former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher was well known for her assertive and direct way of public speaking. Learn the meaning behind a few of the phrases that are associated with her – sometimes called 'Thatcherisms'.

The Iron Lady

Photo: PA

The Iron Lady

Mrs Thatcher earned the nickname, the Iron Lady. It's a term that describes a strong-willed and tough woman. The title was applied to Margaret Thatcher in 1976 by a Soviet journalist for her strong opposition to socialism. (In Russian: Zheleznaya Ledi)
Example: Margaret Thatcher's daughter, Carol, said she was expecting "a tough and tearful week, even for the daughter of the Iron Lady" as she prepares for her mother's funeral on Wednesday.

Margaret Thatcher's handbag

Photo: Getty Images

To handbag

Margaret Thatcher's handbag became a symbol of her political career. It was seen as a weapon used against opponents or unfortunate ministers. It became so famous it even reached the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, which defines the verb "to handbag" as: (of a woman politician), treat (a person, idea etc) ruthlessly or insensitively.
Example: The caricature of Margaret Thatcher was of a UK prime minister constantly "hand-bagging" other European leaders. (BBC Europe Editor, Gavin Hewitt)

A u-turn sign

Photo: PA

The lady's not for turning

A U-turn is an illegal move in a car in which a driver turns back in the direction they came from. In politics it means to change a policy to the opposite of the original. Speaking to her own party in October 1980, Mrs Thatcher famously said: "To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning." She meant that she was sticking to her policies and would not be changing her mind.

Example: Her refusal to do a U-turn - as her predecessor Ted Heath had done - meant she appeared to be heading for defeat at the next election. (BBC News)

2 grandmothers talking

Photo: BBC

We have become a grandmother

When Mrs Thatcher's first grandchild, Michael, was born in 1989, she announced to the world that: "We have become a grandmother." Some people thought this was pompous, as using the word 'we' had previously just been used by members of the royal family (the royal we). In reality, she should have said "I have become a grandmother."
Example: "We are not amused" (Queen Victoria)

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