Britain's only female Prime Minister died Monday. Margaret Thatcher was 87 years old.
The staunch conservative served eleven years in Britain's top political job, a longer tenure than even Winston Churchill.
Thatcher earned the nickname "The Iron Lady" for her steely determination, a character trait Helen Mann observed firsthand.
"This was a woman who knew her own mind," said Mann, who for 35 years worked in the British Consulate in Houston. "But also I found her very kind, and I found her very feminine."
Mann helped organize Thatcher's highest-profile visit to Houston as part of the G7 Summit, which met at Rice University in July 1990.
As usual, Thatcher was the lone woman surrounded by male heads-of-state. And that created a potential difficulty in the effort to keep the world leaders cool during a typical Houston summer day.
"They built a platform, not a very tall one, but a long platform so all the leaders could stand on it and observe the ceremony," recalled Rice political scientist Ric Stoll. "And they piped in air conditioning from below. And reportedly (Thatcher) had weights taped to the inside of her skirt, so she wouldn't have - shall we say - a wardrobe malfunction."
Like Ronald Reagan in the US, Thatcher ushered Britain into a new age of conservative politics and policies.
"Whether you love her or hate her," observed Mann, "one of her great achievements was to put the 'Great' back in 'Great Britain.' And to make Britain the force in the world that it is today."
Margaret Thatcher Houston G-7 summit photos at Rice University