Mon, Jun 15, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Broken arm keeps former ‘Iron Lady’ in hospital

AFP , LONDON

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was to stay in the hospital over the weekend after breaking her arm in a fall, the 83-year-old’s spokesman said on Saturday.

The frail former “Iron Lady,” who has suffered from dementia for a number of years, tripped at her London home on Friday, breaking a bone in her upper arm. She was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Her son Mark visited her early on Saturday and said she was in “good spirits” and “recovering well.”

Thatcher’s spokesman later said she was “comfortable,” adding: “She will be in hospital at least until Monday when doctors will reassess her condition.”

Baroness Thatcher was Britain’s first and so far only female prime minister She headed a Conservative government between 1979 and 1990.

“She had a very good night. Nice and relaxed and slept well,” Mark Thatcher said outside the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in west London, following his brief visit. “It’s just a question of time to let these things heal and go from there really.”

Asked how her arm was, he said: “It’s too early to tell but she seems to be in very good spirits.

“She’s fine. She’s still slightly got some medications going on but she’s in very good form. Recovering well,” he said.

Thatcher gave up public speaking in 2002 on the advice of her doctors after a series of small strokes, although she still attends public engagements, notably for the Conservative Party.

Last week she took part in an event at the Carlton Club in central London to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her May 1979 general election win, which launched 18 years of Conservative government.

Thatcher, a Methodist, had an informal exchange with Pope Benedict XVI after she attended his weekly general audience at the Vatican City on May 27. The pair shook hands and had a brief conversation.

Friday’s incident is only the latest scare for Thatcher, who has looked increasingly frail in recent years.

Her daughter Carol last year told how her mother’s dementia has left her struggling to remember simple facts.

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