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.

Margaret Roberts, Conservative candidate for Dartford, Kent and youngest woman candidate in the election, talking to dustmen during her election campaign on Oct. 4, 1951.
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)
British Conservative politicians Margaret Thatcher and Enoch Powell attend the Tory Party Conference at Brighton on Oct. 16, 1969.
British Conservative politicians Margaret Thatcher and Enoch Powell at the Tory Party Conference at Brighton on Oct. 16, 1969. (Getty Images/Mckeown)
Margaret Thatcher, then British Secretary of State for Education and Science, chats with pupils at the American School in London on December 1, 1971.
“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 in January of 1973.
Margaret Thatcher in her London apartment in January of 1973. (Getty Images/Brian Seed)
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, 49, and mother of twins, pictured as she address a Young Conservative conference at Eastbourne, England on Feb. 8, 1975.
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)
Conservative Party Leader of the Opposition, Margaret Thatcher speaking at a meeting of the party's campaign to keep Britain in the Common Market, watched by her predecessor Edward Heath. Thatcher is holding up a publication entitled 'Britain In Europe, The Benefits Of Membership'. Photo, May 17, 1975.
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)
British Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher with her husband Denis during an election campaign, circa 1979
Margaret Thatcher waves to a crowd during her election campaign in 1979. (Getty Images/ John Downing)
President Ronald Reagan is pulled along by his pet dog -Lucky - while he and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher take a stroll in the White House Rose Garden on Feb. 20, 1985.
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)
British Prime Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, right, is among other heads of government at West German Bundestag (parliament) in Bonn on Saturday, May 4, 1985 where participants of World Economic Summit held their declaration at the end of Bonn summit.   From left are Margaret Thatcher, French Economic and Finance Minister Pierre Beregovoy, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, French President Francois Mitterrand, and U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
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)
Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, wearing a white trilby hat and coat, hands out biscuits to photographers while touring the Farmhouse Biscuit factory at Nelson, Lancashire  on May 23, 1987.
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)
Britain’s Prime Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher wears her protective hard hat during a visit to The Tower at Canary Wharf in London, the tallest building in the United Kingdom, on August 22, 1990.
Thatcher dons a protective hard hat, on August 22, 1990. (AP Photo/Dave Caulkin)
Former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher looks at a parade of veterans of the Falkland Islands conflict in London on June 17, 2007.
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)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI, wearing his Saturn hat, greets former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican on May 27, 2009.
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)
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, gestures to members of the media following her return home from hospital suffering from a broken arm, in central London, in this file photos dated June 29, 2009.
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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