Photos: Margaret Thatcher, through the years

Margaret Thatcher, a towering figure in British politics, was not only the the UK’s longest-serving prime minister in the 20th century, but also the first and only female to have held the post. Thatcher died this morning at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.

These photos capture Thatcher’s long, illustrious, and often contentious political career.

Young Margaret Thatcher
Then Margaret Roberts was a conservative candidate for the safe Labour seat at Dartford, Kent and youngest woman candidate in the election. Here she’s talking to dustmen during her election campaign on Oct. 4, 1951. (Getty Images/Central Press)
Margaret Thatcher And Powell
British Conservative politicians Margaret Thatcher and Enoch Powell at the Tory Party Conference at Brighton on Oct. 16, 1969. (Getty Images/Mckeown)
Secretary of State for Education, Margaret Thatcher
“I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.” – Margaret Thatcher, as Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1973 (Getty Images/Frank Barratt)
Margaret Thatcher in her London Apartment
Margaret Thatcher in her London apartment in January of 1973. (Getty Images/Brian Seed)
Margaret Thatcher
Thatcher pictured at the age of 49, as she addresses a Young Conservative conference at Eastbourne, England on Feb. 8, 1975. (AP Photo/Bob Dear)
Margaret Thatcher Speaks On Europe
Predecessor Edward Heath watches Conservative Party Leader of the Opposition Margaret Thatcher speak at a meeting of the party’s campaign to keep Britain in the Common Market on May 17, 1975. (Getty Images/Central Press)
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher waves to a crowd during her election campaign in 1979. (Getty Images/ John Downing)
Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher
Thatcher joins US President Ronald Reagan (pulled along by his pet dog, Lucky) for a walk through the White House Rose Garden, on Feb. 20, 1985. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma)
AP Photo
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher stands among other heads of government, including US president Ronald Reagan, at West German Bundestag (parliament) in Bonn on May 4, 1985. (AP Photo)
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher takes a moment to hand out biscuits to photographers while touring the Farmhouse Biscuit factory at Nelson, Lancashire on May 23, 1987. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin)
Margaret Thatcher
Thatcher dons a protective hard hat, on August 22, 1990. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin)
25th Anniversary of Falklands War Remembered
Former British Prime Minister Thatcher looks at a parade of veterans of the Falkland Islands conflict in London on June 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Margaret Thatcher and The Pope
Here, the former prime minister is greeted by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican on May 27, 2009. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher waves to members of the media following her return home from the hospital after suffering a broken arm, in central London, on June 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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