DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who died this morning in London has two grandchildren in North Texas and many British ex-patriots who will miss her.
Sheela Kadam Bailey, who grew up in England, opened the British Emporium in Grapevine 20-years ago because she missed the food back home.
“Couldn’t get a decent cup of hot tea around here,” she said.
Now, she says, she’ll miss Margaret Thatcher.
“A great sadness. We all got the news this morning. And, I thought the world has lost a great leader,” she said.
Sheela was a college student in England when Thatcher became Britain’s first and so far only female Prime Minister.
“We never thought we’d see the day when there’d be a lady leader. And she was incredibly tough,” said Sheela.
But it was Sheela’s husband, Clay, a native Texan, who actually met Thatcher in 1993 at a book signing in Dallas.
Clay said he arrived an hour and a half early and there were still 100 people in line ahead of him.
He said, “They explicitly asked people not to talk to her. And, I felt like I was going to break that rule. And, I talked to her, I guess for two to three minutes.”
Clay said they chatted about the years he lived in England.
“It was very humbling, in my opinion, to talk to me because she certainly is one of the great leaders of the century,” Clay said.
Did she seem like an “Iron Lady” to him?
“She seemed like there was no messing about. All business but polite,” he said.
Clay believed Thatcher was in Dallas to visit with her son.
Thatcher had two children, twins, Mark and Carol.
Mark married a North Texan. They divorced but their children, Thatcher’s grandchildren, graduated from Highland Park High school.
Michael Thatcher graduated in 2008. Amanda Thatcher graduated in 2012.
Alexandra Evans has been working at the British Emporium since it opened.
“She did come to Texas quite a bit because of her grandchildren,” said Alexandra Evans.
Evans thinks Thatcher will be one tough role model to follow.
“I hope we can see someone come up through the ranks like her. But I don’t think it will be for a long while,”
Mark Thatcher had lived in Dallas at one time. He is believed to be living in the south of Spain now and is said to have flown back to London and was at his mother’s bedside.
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