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The Human Thatcher

LONDON – It is difficult to separate some of my personal memories of Margaret Thatcher – mundane but revealing – from the sweeping judgments of history. I had worked for her as the Conservative Party’s research director, and as a minister for about 15 years, before going to Hong Kong as Britain’s last Governor there. Because she had negotiated Hong Kong’s handover to China, she was a frequent and welcome visitor during my tenure. 

Thatcher was always hugely supportive of the preservation of Hong Kong’s rule of law, civil liberties, and democratic aspirations. She sympathized with, and appeared to like, pro-democracy campaigners. I also remember that, while our official residence was full of excellent, hardworking staff (to whom she was always kind and courteous), she was the only visitor – and there were many – who made her own bed! The job was done with all the care and precision of a grand hotel: boxed corners and neatly turned-down cover.