Former first lady Nancy Reagan, expressing deep sadness at former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death, called the Iron Lady and former President Ronald Reagan "political soul mates."
In a statement provided to Secrets, Reagan praised the duo's fight for democracy and said Thatcher helped the Gipper bring on the collapse of the Soviet Union. Below is her statement issued by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library.
STATEMENT BY MRS. RONALD REAGAN ON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE BARONESS MARGARET THATCHER
Los Angeles - I am terribly saddened today to learn of the death of Margaret Thatcher. The world has lost a true champion of freedom and democracy.
It is well known that my husband and Lady Thatcher enjoyed a very special relationship as leaders of their respective countries during one of the most difficult and pivotal periods in modern history.
Ronnie and Margaret were political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end Communism. As Prime Minister, Margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to "rock the boat." As a result, she helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions of people.
Ronnie and I knew her as a dear and trusted friend, and I will miss her. The United States knew Margaret as a spirited and courageous ally, and the world owes her a debt of gratitude.
My heart goes out to Mark, Carol and the entire Thatcher family.
Former President George H.W. Bush also had a fond memory of Thatcher. In a statement, he said:
"Barbara and I were deeply saddened to learn of Baroness Thatcher's passing, and extend our heartfelt condolences to her children and loved ones. Margaret was, to be sure, one of the 20th Century's fiercest advocates of freedom and free markets -- a leader of rare character who carried high the banner of her convictions, and whose principles in the end helped shape a better, freer world.
The personal grief we Bushes feel is compounded by the knowledge that America has lost one of the staunchest allies we have ever known; and yet we have confidence that her sterling record of accomplishment will inspire future generations. May God bless the memory of Margaret Thatcher."
Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of Rendezvous with Destiny and Reagan's Revolution, joined in praising Thatcher.
"Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II represented the best of 20th century humanity. Their dedication to freedom defeated Soviet Communism and liberated millions," he said.
"Without Margaret Thatcher, all of us would be living in a far different and far worse world."