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Beloved granddaughter mesmerises mourners with confident reading

She may be just 19 years old, but Margaret Thatcher's granddaughter captivated mourners as she delivered a flawless reading at the former prime minister's funeral.

Amanda Thatcher, a US college student, appeared completely unfazed as she read a lesson from Ephesians which called on the righteous to "put on the whole armour of God".

The impassioned reading, delivered in her mid-Atlantic accent, put her firmly on the world stage before a global television audience of millions.

The only other lesson at the service was read by UK prime minister David Cameron.

Wearing a black coat and dress, with a wide-brimmed hat and pearls, Ms Thatcher read from Ephesians, chapter 6 verses 10 to 18. The passage calls on Christians to stand against the "wiles of the devil".

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world," she read.

Following the service, dignitaries ranging from Boris Johnson to Malcolm Rifkind were united in their praise of her.

Amanda and her brother, Michael (24), are the children of Mark Thatcher and his first wife, Diane Beckett.

They live with their mother in Dallas, Texas, where, according to Amanda's school reports, she is a talented sportswoman who excels in athletics and was voted "most likely to change the world" by her high school peers.

They sat in the front row of St Paul's Cathedral between their father and stepmother. Before the service, they preceded Mrs Thatcher's coffin into church.

Mrs Thatcher adored her grandchildren, telling an interviewer in the late 1990s: "When my daughter-in-law sends me photographs of the grandchildren, apart from seeing them in the flesh, that is the greatest pleasure I have in the whole year, far exceeding everything else."

Michael, an accomplished American football player at high school, studied at Texas A&M University, and has recently worked for a Republican-aligned political organisation that aims to "educate and empower the Hispanic community with conservative values".

Michael and Amanda were born in the US but spent much of their childhood in South Africa.

They lived in a large house in Cape Town, where Michael played cricket and Amanda had riding lessons.

Arrested

However, after Mark Thatcher was arrested in 2004 for his involvement in an attempted coup in Equatorial Guinea, Diane moved back to Dallas with the children. The couple later went through an acrimonious divorce and both remarried.

The move, however, cut them off from their father, who was barred from entering the US because of his conviction over the coup.

At the age of 12, Amanda reportedly wrote to then president George W Bush asking him to intervene. "You know how you feel about your daughters," she asked.

"I want my Daddy back in America."

She did not receive a reply. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent