Margaret Thatcher Did Not Require Any Karate Ladies

Ethan Trex
Getty Images
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Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87. Here's an excerpt from a story we ran on the former British Prime Minister back in 2010. 

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher attended an economic summit in Japan. She was still a fairly new prime minister when she headed to Tokyo, and her hosts were a bit apprehensive about how a female PM would be received. To ensure Thatcher’s safety, they came up with a novel plan: they would offer her a detail of 20 “karate ladies” for protection.

There was only one hitch in this bizarre plan: Thatcher wanted no part of it.

Recently released records quote Thatcher’s cabinet secretary Sir John Hunt as saying, “Mrs. Thatcher will attend the summit as Prime Minister and not as a woman per se…the Prime Minister would like to be treated in exactly the same manner as the other visiting Heads of Delegation…If other delegation leaders, for example, are each being assigned 20 karate gentlemen, the Prime Minister would have no objection to this; but she does not wish to be singled out.”

More: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Margaret Thatcher