In September 2006, former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher added a unique title to her list of honors: Patron of The Heritage Foundation. A British term meaning “champion” and “supporter,” the designation as Patron was approved by the Heritage Board of Trustees in recognition of Lady Thatcher’s “singular contributions as a leader of the free world and to the improvement of the life of her nation and people.” Heritage is the only U.S. institution to have the privilege of honoring Lady Thatcher as Patron.
Margaret Thatcher served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1979 to 1990, when the Soviet Empire was still a powerful force, oppressing millions of people across the globe. . Along with her “noble friend,” U.S. President Ronald Reagan, she took communism head on, earning the nickname “Iron Lady” from the Russian people.
Lady Thatcher also used deregulation and privatization to restore Great Britain, once dubbed the “sick man of Europe,” to its position as a world power. The success of her economic policies led other nations—including those in newly free Eastern Europe—to adopt similar market-based reforms.
In 2005, Lady Thatcher selected The Heritage Foundation to house the new Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. The Thatcher Center specializes in the study of transatlantic relations, with a special emphasis on advancing initiatives to strengthen the “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain.
In an open letter to Heritage members, Lady Thatcher explained that she had selected Heritage “to carry forward my legacy in the United States” because it is “an organization committed to defending and restoring sound conservative principles.”
Among her many honors, Lady Thatcher received the Heritage Foundation’s Clare Boothe Luce Award in 2002 for her “courageous leadership in the face of great opposition… [her] special friendship for the United States, and [her] commitment to the cause of freedom.”