The Archive Collection

Billy Graham and Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’

June 23, 2023

“I saw Mr. Graham and spoke to him for quite a long time, and I was very glad he came along to Number 10 [Downing Street]. His message is absolutely vital. It’s that life is about more than material things. It’s what you do with the things that you’ve created that counts and you can only really live your life in relation to other people” – Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher and Billy Graham first met during one of his trips to England when he visited the Prime Minister at her residence at Number 10 Downing Street. In his autobiography, Just As I Am,Billy Graham says of their meeting: “Margaret Thatcher welcomed me to Number 10 Downing Street. Both her parents were dedicated Methodists, and she had great sympathy for our work.”

The two met again at a state dinner President Ronald Reagan hosted at the White House in 1987 for the Soviet Union’s General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev. In Just As I Am, Billy Graham says: “In the reception line, the President turned to tell Mrs. Thatcher who we were. She told him I had already visited her at Number 10 and she knew we were going back to England to preach the following summer.”

Billy Graham and Margaret Thatcher corresponded several times throughout the years, including a time when Mrs. Thatcher was in the hospital. She wrote to thank Rev. Graham for the letter, saying it was “a great tonic” and that she was “very fortunate in having so many kind and thoughtful friends.”

Letter from Margaret Thatcher to Billy Graham dated August 8, 1983

Ruth Graham, Billy Graham’s wife, also once gifted a copy of Margaret Thatcher’s autobiography to Billy Graham as a birthday present. She inscribed the book to her husband, saying “To Bill – on his 75th. So the man of steel can read what the Iron Lady has to say. Love you! – Ruth Nov. 7, ‘93”

Copy of Margaret Thatcher’s autobiography, The Downing Street Years, which Ruth Graham gifted to her husband, Billy Graham

Copy of Margaret Thatcher’s autobiography, The Downing Street Years, which she gifted to Billy Graham

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