The Iron Lady You Don’t Know: Thirteen Facts about Margaret Thatcher

Did you know the Baroness may have helped invent soft-serve ice cream?

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Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, died at 87 on Apr. 8. Whether you agreed with her politics or not, you’ll get a kick out of these lesser-known  facts about the Iron Lady.

  • True story: Margaret Thatcher may have helped invent soft-serve ice cream. After she graduated from the University of Oxford with a chemistry degree, she worked as a research chemist at a Hammersmith food manufacturer called J. Lyons and Company, and was part of a team tasked with “whipping more air into ice cream.” They came up with a kind of “soft ice cream” that used fewer ingredients and saved money on production costs.
  • That being said, she was later dubbed the “the milk snatcher” for discontinuing a free milk program for schoolchildren ages 7-11 in the 1970s.
  • On the subject of her own protection: the files also revealed that she refused a personal security force of 20 “karate ladies” during the Jun. 1979 Tokyo Economic Summit.
  • She used to describe her handbag as “the only safe place in Downing Street.” In 2000, a black leather Ferragamo bag that she bought for $450 in the 1980s sold for a whopping $150,000 during an Internet auction organized by the Breast Cancer Care charity.
  • Bach was her favorite choral music composer because she used to sing in the Bach choir at Oxford. She also enjoyed listening to Chopin and Beethoven.
  • Cointreau was her drink of choice at fancy occasions, but for day-to-day imbibing, she opted for whisky — often kicking back with a scotch and soda after work.

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