Archived papers reveal Thatcher secrets

Doodles made by Ronald Reagan at the 1981 Ottawa G7 summit, and then kept by Margaret Thatcher, have been released.

The US president's scribblings, which include a man's torso and an eye, are among personal papers from 1981 of the former prime minister.

The Ottawa summit, which took place six months after Mr Reagan took office, saw the leaders' relationship progress to first-name terms - Ron and Margaret.

Mr Reagan was president for eight of Mrs Thatcher's 11 years in power.

The doodles, which were left on the table beside Mrs Thatcher and which she then filed in the flat at No 10, have been released by the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust.

The pair are first thought to have met in 1972 - seven years before Mrs Thatcher became prime minister - when she was a minister in Edward Heath's government and Ronald Reagan, the governor of California, was on a visit to Whitehall.

Remembering their first meeting, Mr Reagan said even then he had believed she would make a "magnificent prime minister".

After he took office in January 1981 - and in a sign of the close relationship to come - the prime minister was given the honour of being the first foreign leader invited to the US by the Reagan administration.

She visited the US in February 1981.

'Close friends'

The two leaders famously forged a close, though often tempestuous, relationship during their time in power.

Image caption The leaders were later dubbed by commentators as "office husband and wife"

Both political outsiders, they found common currency in shared right-wing ideals such as minimal government, strong defence and a free market. There was also a joint mission to defeat communism in the shape of the Soviet Union.

All of this and, in Margaret Thatcher's own words, a shared "determination to achieve them".

Political soulmates they might have been, but there were disagreements, most notably over the Falklands crisis in 1982 and then the US invasion of Grenada 18 months later.

In her eulogy at President Reagan's funeral in 2004, Lady Thatcher called him one of her "closest political and dearest personal friends", while in later life President Reagan told how "richly blessed" he had been for having known the Iron Lady.

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