Every parent wants to be proud of their children. But the son and daughter of Margaret Thatcher seemed to do everything to disappoint their mother.
Margaret Thatcher made history as the first woman to serve as British Prime Minister; outstanding but highly controversial politician. For her intransigence and firmness of character, she was called the “Iron Lady”, because she always stood her ground to the end, even if her political decisions provoked public protests. But giving all her strength to the service for the good of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher had to sacrifice the time that she could devote to her own children. However, did Margaret consider this a great sacrifice? “Being a mother and a housewife is a great calling,” she wrote in her 1996 memoir, The Way to Power. “But I just felt that this was not my only vocation. I knew I also wanted to make a career. ”
In the summer of 1953, Margaret Thatcher was preparing to run for Parliament. But the birth of twins Mark and Carol forced her to reconsider her plans. She did not give up her political ambitions, but decided to postpone their implementation. “Having suddenly given birth to twins — we had no idea that there were two of them until their birthday — I suppose I shouldn’t think about the candidate’s position for at least six months,” she wrote to her colleague John Hayer. “The household requires significant reorganization and a reliable nanny must be found before I feel free to devote myself to other activities with the necessary diligence.” But even in spite of the “political taboo” that Margaret prescribed to herself, she wasted no time. In parallel with finding a nanny and renovating the house, she completed a six-month practice in a law office, which allowed her to understand the legal aspects of the world of big politics. Soon, Margaret decided to resume the struggle for a seat in Parliament, so the care of children and households fell entirely on the shoulders of nannies Barbara and Abby.
The only rule about twins that Margaret Thatcher tried not to break was “family weekend”. As her press secretary Bernard Ingham recalled, “she often said that the weekend should be devoted to the family, and asked not to bother her about trifles.” In addition, Margaret often pampered her children with gifts and allowed them to make their own decisions. “It was about everything – from the permission to choose wallpaper in our bedrooms to the possibility of not going to church on Sunday,” – said Carol. Of course, the children liked this freedom, but as they told later, all these privileges and gifts could not replace the main thing for them – motherly care and love.
Since childhood, Margaret Thatcher’s son was not distinguished by either outstanding intelligence or exemplary behavior. But it was Mark who was the favorite of his parents and received more attention. According to a family friend, Margaret “believed that Carol was more assertive than Mark, which means she could handle herself.” She put her son in an elite private school in Harrow, but even that did not help Mark become a more diligent student. He skipped classes, did not do his homework, and tried to earn credibility among his classmates by constantly reminding him of his mother’s merits. The young man’s arrogance and snobbery irritated the people around him, so Mark never made friends at school. When he finally received his certificate, it was time to choose his future profession. Mark tried three times to enroll in accounting courses, tried entrepreneurship and participated in auto racing,
Three years after Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, her son suddenly disappeared. He took part in the Paris-Dakar rally, but in the middle of the track his car made a wrong turn and disappeared into the desert. Mark’s location remained unknown for six days. Margaret was uneasy. She organized a large-scale search and rescue operation, in which even military equipment participated. Everything ended well, but the public was shocked by Mark’s behavior: he walked past the television journalists with a displeased face and did not even bother to thank the people who helped save him (including his own parents).
In 1987, Mark married Diana Bergdof, the Texas heiress of a used car resale business, and moved with her to Africa. Soon the couple had two children – Michael and Amanda. Moreover, Mark suddenly became a millionaire. According to unconfirmed reports, he received huge commissions, becoming an intermediary in military and construction deals concluded in Arab countries by his mother. However, Margaret Thatcher herself never admitted this. Mark’s entrepreneurial career also went uphill, but “by the rules” he never liked to play. As a result, the man became involved in a major international scandal. In 2004, the authorities of Equatorial Guinea accused him of trying to organize a coup. Mark denied his involvement in the conspiracy, but said, that he really planned to help the exiled opposition leader return to the country (presumably, the latter promised Mark access to the region’s rich oil fields in exchange for help). He was sentenced to four years of probation and a £ 265,000 fine. But the “fame” about the unpleasant incident, in which the son of the ex-Prime Minister of Great Britain was involved, instantly thundered in Europe. Counselor Margaret Thatcher said that the woman for a long time experienced “the deepest sense of shame” for Mark’s act. instantly thundered in Europe. Counselor Margaret Thatcher said that the woman for a long time experienced “the deepest sense of shame” for Mark’s act. instantly thundered in Europe. Counselor Margaret Thatcher said that the woman for a long time experienced “the deepest sense of shame” for Mark’s act.
A couple of years later, Mark divorced Diana and moved to Spain, where he met Jane Russell, the daughter of a wealthy London developer. They got married in 2008. Neither Mark’s parents nor his sister received invitations to the ceremony.
He has not seen his children from his first marriage (and the only grandchildren of Margaret Thatcher) for several years. They live with their mother in the United States, but Mark cannot come to them because of the ban of the American authorities from entering the country related to the African incident.
Carol’s relationship with her mother has always been cool. “As a child, I was even afraid of her,” said Mark’s sister. – I always felt that I was in second place for her. “Unloved” is not exactly the right word, but I never felt proud of me. ” Carol recalled winning a prize at school Sports Day, but neither parent came to watch their daughter receive it. One way or another, she really had a more punchy character than Mark, and good humanitarian abilities. She graduated from University College London, after which she briefly worked as a reporter in Australia. Carol then returned to the UK and tried her hand at political journalism, writing a column on the 1983 general election.
But no matter what Carol did, she did not leave the feeling of her own inferiority. “Mark is married to a beautiful girl, he has two adorable children and various mansions scattered all over the world,” she lamented in the mid-1990s. “And I am an ‘old maid’ who has no permanent place of residence, living in a rented apartment in a ski resort.”
Nevertheless, in the following years, luck smiled at Carol: she became a reporter for the popular BBC evening television program The One Show, and then she was invited to take part in an Australian reality show where she had to survive in the jungle. Carol did better than her rivals, she won and received the title of “Queen of the Jungle”, as well as a prize of 40,000 pounds sterling. After enjoying her moment of fame, Carol returned to journalism. But in 2009, she had the imprudence to compare a famous African American tennis player with a hollivog (a rag doll depicting a black man). This incident put an end to Carol’s further career in television.
A few years earlier, Carol had already damaged her reputation and relationships with her family. She began publishing articles under headlines such as “Carol: I Blame Mark for Mom’s Torment” or “How the BBC Shamed My Mother,” but her loudest and most controversial opus was the 2008 book on the life of Margaret Thatcher. It came out under the strange title “Swimming in an aquarium with goldfish” and was dedicated to how the “Iron Lady” is rapidly losing its lucidity. Carol decided to elaborate on the moment when she first began to suspect that her mother was suffering from “senile dementia” and how her illness developed. She told the world that the former prime minister considers her late husband alive; does not remember what she ate for breakfast; and cannot do without the help of a nurse. The audience received Carol’s work extremely coldly. But the hardest part to survive the book’s release was 82-year-old Margaret Thatcher. “When Lady Thatcher read this, she was shocked to see the facts about her own health in print,” said writer Robert Harris. “But above all, she was wounded by the fact that her own daughter did this.”
Carol was never able to restore relations with her mother. When Margaret Thatcher complained that her children and grandchildren did not communicate with her, Carol reacted sharply: “It is unreasonable for a mother to expect her children to come back, exuding joy and a desire to make up for lost time. An absent mother who has become a hyper caring grandmother is not a balancing act. ”
Carol never married. Now she lives in Switzerland, returning home from time to time, and does not communicate with her brother at all.