Margaret Thatcher's first foray into politics was in 1950 when she was defeated in her attempt to unseat a popular MP for Dartfort.
She lost but won plaudits for her dignity and her speeches espousing pure Conservative values of tight fiscal polices and family first.
For the next nine years, she did put her family first – marrying Dennis Thatcher and focusing on her twins, Mark and Carol. She found time to become a barrister – but the draw of politics was too strong.
Her election in 1959 as MP for Finchley began a four-decade long crusade to impose her values on the nation.
As Education Secretary, she famously abolished free milk to all schoolchildren – earning her the tabloid headline “Thatcher the Snatcher”.
Banished to opposition in the 1974 general election, she became a central figure in rebuilding the party. She challenged Heath for the party leadership and won, setting the stage for her eventual entry into 10 Downing Street.
That came in May, 1979 at a time where unions dominated the economic agenda, inflation was rampant, and there was no end to the violence in Northern Ireland.
In 1984, she survived a IRA bombing of her hotel in Brighton as the Conservative Party met. She was in an adjacent room when the bomb went off.
In her third term, she changed local taxation, introducing a poll tax, imposing levies on the number of individuals living in a home, not on the home itself.
By Mick O'Reilly, Senior Associate Editor