Thatcher files reveal Barbara Cartland sent PM alternative health cures

Margaret Thatcher was apparently fond of alternative health cures and was sent them by prolific romance author Dame Barbara Cartland, newly released documents show.

Mrs Thatcher, who famously slept for only four hours a night, received "nutrimental capsules" from the novelist "in case you ever feel tired".

On a separate occasion Mrs Thatcher was sent a further supplement, possibly to address jetlag or travel sickness ahead of a trip to the Far East.

Dame Barbara, who corresponded with Mrs Thatcher fairly regularly and lunched with her, sent a package dated June 8 1989.

Dame Barbara Cartland
Dame Barbara Cartland sent health supplements to Margaret Thatcher (PA)

"My dear Prime Minister, You were wonderful last night, as usual," she wrote.

"It is incredible, with all you do, how you can still look as though you were 25.

"In case you ever feel tired, I am enclosing the very latest product we have in the Health Movement, which takes oxygen to every part of the body, including the brain.

"My son, aged 51, says that he wakes up in the morning and feels like a boy of 16, and at nearly 88 I find it fantastic."

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Margaret Thatcher's life
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Margaret Thatcher's life
Margaret Thatcher, sporting a sweater bearing the flags of European nations, in Parliament Square during her 'Yes to Europe' campaign.
Margaret Thatcher at the Conservative conference in Blackpool on 13 October 1989, a stressful year amid high inflation and the introduction of the poll tax.
Margaret Thatcher (left) with Nigel Lawson at a Conservative party conference in October 1989. Photograph: ReutersNigel Lawson may claim that Brexit is finishing the job that Margaret Thatcher started but the prime minister was infuriated by his 1989 resignation, her newly released personal papers reveal.For the Conservatives, it was a year which had uncanny parallels with today – a prime minister facing questions about her leadership, a party split over Europe and the threat of cabinet resignations over the issue.Thatcher would survive the year but the resignation of Lawson in October, over the influence of her economic adviser Alan Walters, came, in hindsight, to be seen as the beginning of the end for the Iron Lady.Lawson was at loggerheads with Thatcher and Walters over the exchange rate mechanism (ERM). The then chancellor was – ironically given his current status as a staunch Brexiter – the only one of the trio who wanted the country to join the ERM, although he was motivated by a desire to control inflation rather than strengthening bonds with Britain’s European partners.Thatcher recorded his departure in a private memo in terse terms: “Early Thursday morning – hair set 8-8.30 Andrew [Turnbull] came up to say Nigel Lawson wanted to see me. Went down 8.50 …“The reason for his visit – which he had considered very carefully – was that unless I agreed to sack Alan Walters, he would hand in his resignation as chancellor. This seemed to me an absurd, indeed reprehensible proposition … in my view no one could possibly resign on the basis of such a flimsy and unworthy proposal.”She said she urged him to think again, concluding: “I then put the matter out of my mind.”The papers reveal that the following month she told the Sun’s editor at the time, Kelvin MacKenzie, in an off-the-record interview, that after taking a comforting “we love you” call from her children on the day of the resignation, in characteristic no-nonsense fashion she then prepared supper for her and her husband, Denis: “Someone’s got to do it … I just had to get on.”But Chris Collins, a historian at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, said the PM’s anger came through in her memo, in contrast with her public stance, in which she affected bafflement. “She would have loved to have really punched hard, I think,” he said.The resignation prompted the first leadership challenge to Thatcher – by the little-known backbencher Anthony Meyer – which Collins says created the conditions for the epoch-ending contest, less than a year later, in which she would face the more formidable figure of Michael Heseltine.Collins said: “You can see that events in 1990 would not have happened as they did had it not been for 1989 ... The Lawson resignation is actually the one that makes [Geoffery] Howe’s resignation so damaging.”In June of 1989, Howe had teamed up with Lawson for the “Madrid ambush”, when Thatcher’s then chancellor and foreign secretary threatened to resign if she refused to state a date for Britain joining the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM).She did not accede and although they did not quit immediately, when they did – Howe, then deputy prime minister, resigned in November 1990 – it would ultimately have devastating consequences for her.Her papers provide an insight into what she thought of the Madrid ambush, with Thatcher writing that two of her aides were “appalled” by the manoeuvrings of her cabinet colleagues.By contrast to the ERM, Thatcher was a fan of the single market. Little could she have suspected that a “runner” named David Cameron – appearing for the fist time in her personal papers in 1989 - writing briefs on the benefits of the single market, would ultimately pave the way for the UK’s possible exit from it.Other fires Thatcher was fighting in 1989, such as NHS reform and the need to build more houses, also resonate 30 years on, but some, like privatisation, high interest rates and the despised poll tax, were of their time.Having said that, Thatcher’s determination to plough on with the poll tax, despite grim evidence of its impact, chimes with Theresa May’s steadfast commitment to universal credit in the face of warnings from, among others, John Major, who has likened the two policies to one another.The papers show she was harangued by backbenchers about the community charge and shown an analysis of its impact on several streets in her constituency, stating that two-person households stood to lose an average of £172 each.Another confidential report into 10 marginal seats suggested losers would outnumber winners by more than four to one on even the most optimistic assumption.Faced with numerous troubles, in words that might provide succour to May, the Iron Lady told MacKenzie: “What matters is not the bad days but how you pick yourself up and recover.”• The papers can be viewed from Monday at Cambridge University’s Churchill Archives Centre and hundreds will go online at www.margaretthatcher.org.
Margaret Thatcher received 'nutrimental capsules' from the novelist 'in case you ever feel tired'.
She may have been the no-nonsense grocer’s daughter who became the steely Iron Lady of No 10, but newly released papers throw a fascinating light on Margaret Thatcher’s interest in alternative medicines and bizarre therapies.
The government is riven by the question of Europe, the Prime Minister is at odds with key members of her Cabinet and at the same time faces threats to her leadership. Sounds familiar?
Margaret Thatcher received 'nutrimental capsules' from the novelist 'in case you ever feel tired'.
She may have been the no-nonsense grocer’s daughter who became the steely Iron Lady of No 10, but newly released papers throw a fascinating light on Margaret Thatcher’s interest in alternative medicines and bizarre therapies.
The government is riven by the question of Europe, the Prime Minister is at odds with key members of her Cabinet and at the same time faces threats to her leadership. Sounds familiar?
The government is riven by the question of Europe, the Prime Minister is at odds with key members of her Cabinet and at the same time faces threats to her leadership. Sounds familiar?
Controversial plans for statue of Margaret Thatcher on 10ft-high plinth approved
File photo dated 03/05/89 of Margaret Thatcher was apparently fond of alternative health cures and was sent them by prolific romance author Dame Barbara Cartland. The Margaret Thatcher Foundation is gradually releasing her private files through the Churchill Archives Centre.
File photo dated 13/10/88 of Chancellor Nigel Lawson, (right) applauded by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who branded Lawson's indication that he would resign as Chancellor of the Exchequer "an absurd proposition", a newly-released note describing the moment he told her reveals.
File photo dated 19/03/1982 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the late Lord Carrington, whose friends and colleagues have been paying tribute to him at Westminster Abbey in London.
File photo dated 16/11/1990 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher talking to a member of the Royal Irish Rangers outside the border check point at Derryad in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
File photo dated 1/6/1989 of Prime Margaret Thatcher and George HW Bush outside 10 Downing Street. The former US president has died aged 94.
Embargoed to 0001 Friday December 28 File photo dated 06/09/1981 of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her husband Denis in a car during their stay with the Queen at Balmoral. Mrs Thatcher often did not have a secure communication link to Downing Street when she was away from London, newly-released government documents show.
(EDITORS NOTE: Image was created using a variable planed lens.) . General view of the coffin of Baroness Thatcher during her funeral at St Paul's Cathedral in central London.
Margaret Thatcher holds up a "I love Maggie" t-shirt at the Conservative Party Conference exhibition in Blackpool.
TVAM's Timmy Mallett and Margaret Thatcher.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in a light-hearted mood on election day morning taking a position behind the lens for a change. Mrs Thatcher was on a vote-catching trip around her Finchley constituency.
Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, as she is rarely seen in public, in spectacles.
The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meeting members of the rescue services during her visit to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary today after seeing victims of the Piper Alpha Disaster. She announced that the Government was giving £1,000,000 to the Piper Alpha Disaster Fund.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, waist-deep in blackcurrant bushes, brings the agricultural scene into focus during a visit to Appleford Farm, Rivenhall, near Witham, East Anglia.
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A library file picture of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher giving a speech during the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton.
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10th JUNE: On this day in 1983 Margaret Thatcher won a landslide victory to start her second term of power. The window of success frames the jubilant Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher waving to well-wishers after her election win. At Tory Party headquarters, she told flag-waving supporters "My victory is greater than I had dared to hope".
Mrs Margaret Thatcher examining a minefield during her visit to the Falkland Islands when the Royal Engineers took her on a tour of the Rookery Bay beach, a heavily mined area.
A sombre looking Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during today's Law and Order debate at the Conservative Party Conference, Brighton.
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The Lady in Red chiffon, that's Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher at her London home last night prior to leaving for last night's meeting with her constituents at Finchley, north London.
Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher, at working her office at the House of Commons.
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Twenty six-year-old Margaret Roberts (Thatcher to be), MA, BSc, Conservative candidate for Dartford, who was the youngest woman candidate in any party in the last election, is pictured when she commenced her canvassing campaign in her constituency. Miss Roberts, who is considered the best looking of the Tory women candidates, is also reading for the Bar in her spare time. In this picture she is seen talking with a local housewife on 4th October 1951.
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In a letter dated June 15 1989, Mrs Thatcher thanked Dame Barbara for the "charming letter" and the "nutrimental capsules".

Dame Barbara wrote to Mrs Thatcher's diary secretary Amanda Ponsonby on July 3 1989 with further supplements ahead of Mrs Thatcher's planned trip to the Far East.

"Thank you so much for being most kind and saying that you will give the enclosed to the Prime Minister," wrote Dame Barbara.

"I hope that there are enough because it is a very long trip.

"I did it myself and it does feel ghastly when you get home.

"Do impress on her that as far as I know there are no side-effects at all, and they are not soporific, so that you feel you must go to sleep.

"It just stops that awful feeling in the head and ears..."

Millionaire industrialist Sir Emmanuel Kaye, once a strong supporter of the Conservative Party, wrote to Mrs Thatcher after seeing her at the opera at Glyndebourne offering advice about her supplements.

He said he could "sort out vitamins, minerals etc and, if you like ... check whether the Vitamin C and the Royal Jelly you are having are of the best variety for you and work out the optimum dosage".

Sir Emmanuel also mentioned he had evolved "an advanced form of homeopathy called body tuning", though it is not known whether he did any for Mrs Thatcher.

The same year, a profile titled The Blooming Of Margaret Thatcher appeared in Vanity Fair, claiming Mrs Thatcher was fond of "electric baths" – in which 0.3 amps of electricity was run through water in a bid to stay youthful.

Chris Collins, of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, said: "The impression of dottiness, of a woman 'slightly off her trolley', was not one that (Thatcher's press secretary Bernard) Ingham could treat lightly and the 'electric baths piece' attracted a lot of attention one way or another in the world's press."

He said that references to health cures in Mrs Thatcher's correspondence were "obscure, perhaps deliberately so", adding that he believed her interest was genuine.

The Margaret Thatcher Foundation is gradually overseeing the release of her private files through the Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge.

Members of the public will be able to browse the archive from Monday by visiting www.margaretthatcher.org

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