TEHRAN,YJC. -- The official US delegation to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral will lack ex-presidents but will include two former secretaries of state, the White House said Monday.
The delegation will be led by Republicans George Shultz and James Baker, and include Louis Susman, the recent former ambassador to London and Barbara Stephenson, the current charge d'affaires.
Britain had invited all the surviving US former presidents: Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, to Wednesday's funeral, as a final testament to the Iron Lady's special relationship with America.
The 2,000-strong guest list will also not include great Cold War figures including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ex-German chancellor Helmut Kohl who are too ill to attend.
Also absent will be former first lady Nancy Reagan, wife of late US leader Ronald Reagan, Thatcher's political soul mate.
No immediate details were available as to why no former presidents would attend Thatcher's funeral and it was unclear whether the absence of US leaders would be seen in Britain as a snub.
Dawn military rehearsal for Margaret Thatcher funeral
Major Andrew Chatburn, who is in charge of choreographing Baroness Thatcher's funeral parade, says it has been created paying respect to the wishes of the deceased. A full military rehearsal for Baroness Thatcher's funeral has taken place in the early hours of this morning.
Major Andrew Chatburn, the man in charge of choreographing the parade, said the rehearsal "went very well" and claimed it was "vitally important" to stage a trial of Wednesday's event.
More than 700 serving Armed Forces personnel gathered in central London before dawn as a Union flag-draped coffin was carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage from St Clement Danes, the church of the Royal Air Force, down the Strand to St Paul's Cathedral.
The procession band played the funeral marches of Chopin, Beethoven and Mendelssohn as it made its way along the deserted streets.