London, Nov 3 : The Queen has ordered steps to be taken to prevent Baroness Thatcher disrupting her schedule on Remembrance Sunday. The order follows a row over protocol at last year's Cenotaph commemorations.
Sources in Whitehall have revealed that the Queen was furious at being kept waiting by Lady Thatcher, when the former Prime Minister was centre of attention on the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict, the Daily Express reported.
A drinks reception on the first floor of the Foreign Office immediately after the wreath-laying ceremony for Britain's war dead had to be delayed while the Queen and dignitaries stood waiting for the frail former premier to arrive.
"The Queen was furious. Protocol dictates that nobody should arrive after her so she had to wait for ages while everyone was waiting for Lady Thatcher," a source said.
"Obviously, everyone understands that she is frail and needs assistance but this year she has been told she must take a lift while everyone else walks up the stairs. She can't keep the Queen waiting again," the source added.
The former Prime Minister's private secretary, Mark Worthington, insisted he was not aware of any concern, and said Lady Thatcher had been offered the lift last year.
"There's nothing new this year as far as I am aware. They are always very kind and try to help as much as possible," he said of the organisers of the event.
But it is understood that last year Lady Thatcher ignored advice to take the lift and insisted on negotiating the stairs.
Sources said they did not know whether she did it to simply prove she could still walk up the stairs or if it was out of a desire to take centre stage.
The Queen, who at 82 is a year younger than Lady Thatcher, has always tried to maintain a cordial relationship with her in public and is understood to have agreed to a state funeral for the ex-premier.