Margaret Thatcher: Former PM named outfits after Gorbachev and Reagan

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Margaret Thatcher wore a pink outfit while meeting Mikhail Gorbachev in London in April 1989

Margaret Thatcher named some of her outfits after other world leaders, including Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, newly released documents show.

A 1990 diary entry records she wore her “Pink Chanel Gorbachev” suit during a visit to the set of Coronation Street.

Records reveal the Conservative prime minister also named several outfits after BBC broadcaster Terry Wogan.

Other papers show Mrs Thatcher was warned over a 1990 newspaper article on Europe written by Boris Johnson.

A Foreign Office memo shows an official thought the report by the current PM, at the time a Daily Telegraph journalist, was not accurate.

The incident is detailed in the latest release from the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust, which is overseeing the gradual publication of her private files.

Files show Mrs Thatcher, the UK’s first woman prime minister, named more outfits after Soviet leader Mr Gorbachev than any other leader, followed by US President Ronald Reagan.

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The “Pink Chanel Gorbachev” made one of its next appearances in the Rovers Return

An entry from her private diary records that she wore her “Pink Chanel Gorbachev” during a visit to Granada Television Studios in Manchester in January 1990.

Eight months before, she had worn the same dress when she hosted Mr Gorbachev in London.

Chris Collins, from the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust, said “only certain men” received the accolade of having an outfit named after them.

He noted, for example, that she chose to name a dress she wore when she met French President Francois Mitterrand after Waddesdon Manor, the Buckingham country house where the meeting took place.

‘Power of clothes’

And when she met President George HW Bush in 1990, she is recorded as wearing her “Black Dull Suit”.

The former prime minister’s christening of her wardrobe was not limited to foreign leaders she admired.

Another entry from 1990 details that she wore her “Wogan Burgundy” to the Bank of England.

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Francois Mitterrand was among world leaders not to be recognised at all in the PM’s wardrobe

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On her final day in Downing Street, Mrs Thatcher wore her “Burgundy New York W Velvet Collar”.

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Outside of politics, the broadcaster Terry Wogan was a favourite when it came to sartorial references

The BBC broadcaster, who interviewed Mrs Thatcher in January of that year, had several outfits named after him including a “Wogan Long” and a “Wogan Short”.

Mr Collins says Mrs Thatcher appeared to start taking her appearance more seriously after a visit to Moscow in 1987.

“She’s suddenly, I think, aware of the power of clothes,” he said. “She begins then to see that this is actual serious politics and she’s got more clothes and she’s monitoring what she’s doing with them.”

He added that keeping a record of her fashion choices may have been suggested to her by her “dress adviser” Margaret King, who was also a director of the Aquascutum fashion house.

European ‘horrors’

The latest release of documents also shows Mrs Thatcher was warned against taking at face value an article on Europe by Mr Johnson, then working as Brussels correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.

In the report, the current prime minister described comments by then-European Commission President Jacques Delors ahead of a summit on reform of the European Economic Community (EEC) due to take place later that year.

Mr Delors, he suggested, had unveiled plans for an EEC “super-state”, paving the way for a “Federation of Europe”.

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The memo to Mrs Thatcher’s private secretary from Foreign Office official Richard Gozney

Files show Mrs Thatcher marked the comments on a cutting of the article, written on 24 October 1990, along with the headline.

However a senior Foreign Office official advised in a memo to Mrs Thatcher’s private secretary Charles Powell that what had been reported was not in the Commission’s official document.

“It does not propose any radical change in the present institutional plans of the Community – although it does contain a lot of other horrors,” he added.

A week after the article was published, Mrs Thatcher made her famous “No, No, No” speech in the House of Commons, in which she rejected Mr Delors’ plan to give more power to European institutions.