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Texas Bride Late For Wedding To Prime Minister’s Son

February 14, 1987 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ It was cold and rainy, the bride was late and forgot her bouquet, but otherwise the Valentine’s Day wedding of Mark Thatcher and Texan Diane Burgdorf went off without a hitch.

″It was lovely,″ said a beaming Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the groom’s mother, as she left the tiny Queen’s Chapel of The Savoy after Saturday’s private wedding, attended by about 150 guests.

Asked if the ceremony had brought a tear to eye, she replied, ″more than one, more than one.″

The marriage of her only son to the daughter of a millionaire Texas auto dealer climaxed a romance that began nearly two years ago at a party launching a Dallas magazine.

About 70 well-wishers, who had waited for hours in wet, chilly weather, clapped as the newlyweds kissed for photographers on the doorstep of the 19th- century stone chapel after the double-ring ceremony.

The couple then was driven in a maroon Rolls-Royce to the nearby Savoy Hotel for a champagne wedding luncheon for 300 guests.

Four hours later the bride, in a bright blue suit, and groom left the Savoy and climbed into a black limousine as the bridegroom’s sister showered them with confetti. Two magnums of champagne were put in the car along with their luggage.

″I have no idea where they are going,″ the prime minister said as the car pulled away. ″If I did have, I would not tell you.″

Sources close to the family said the couple would spend the wedding night somewhere in the English countryside and fly to Australia on Sunday for their honeymoon.

″It’s really a happy day,″ said Carol Thatcher, the groom’s twin sister. ″My parents are simply thrilled to bits. Everything went smoothly. The only person who was late was the bride and that’s her prerogative.″

Thatcher, 33, who has worked in the sports car field in Dallas, arrived at the church 35 minutes before the wedding and stood in the vestibule greeting guests, including U.S. Ambassador Charles H. Price II and his wife.

The groom wore a morning suit with tails, a top hat and a yellow rose in his lapel - an apparent salute to his adopted Texas home.

Miss Burgdorf, 26, a runner-up beauty queen who works at a Dallas bank, was three minutes late when she arrived at the church with her father, and had forgotten her bridal bouquet of cream and pink roses and jasmine.

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It was five minutes more before someone rushed over with it from the Savoy Hotel and she could start her walk down the blue-carpeted aisle, resplendent in a traditional white satin wedding dress with a five-foot train covered with lace and embroidered with tiny pearls and sequins.

″The most embarrassing thing was the bride forgetting the bouquet,″ said Police Superintendent Bernard King. ″It shows people up there are just as fallible as we are.″

The wedding was conducted by three ministers, the Rev. John Williams, chaplain at the Savoy chapel, Dr. Peter Walker, the bishop of Ely, who is a friend of the groom, and an unidentified Lutheran minister from Texas.

″It was one of the happiest marriages I have attended,″ said Walker. ″It was very straightforward and beautifully done. The atmosphere in the church was warm.″

He said the ceremony was based on the revised Church of England prayer book, which meant the bride did not promise to ″obey″ her husband.

Carol Thatcher, a journalist, said: ″She looked stunningly pretty. Mark was very nervous. Neither of them muffed their lines. They were said with confidence and clarity.″

The wedding ended with the British national anthem. The Bach anthem ″Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire,″ was played as the bride and groom signed the church register with their parents. Then, the newlyweds walked down the aisle together to the music of Beethoven’s ″Ode To Joy.″

As they were about to enter the Savoy for the reception, a reporter asked the groom what he thought of the new Mrs. Thatcher. ″Charming, obviously,″ he replied.

At the reception, guests were served champagne, canapes, a cake of carrots and Gruyere cheese, salmon in a crust with vegetables and an ice cream dessert named after the bride - ″Le Tulipe Diane.″

Security was tight around the chapel and the hotel, with streets blocked off and marksmen on rooftops.

Aside from a few longtime political allies of the prime minister, the wedding was strictly for friends and family. There were no heads of state, no members of the royal family.

Matron of honor Debra Grisham and bridesmaids Theresa Flores, Sharon Wood and Gloria Zapffe - wearing midnight blue silk midi-dresses with big bows in the back - are all Texas friends of the bride.

Best man Stephen Tipping is a former business associate of the groom and is credited with sparking Thatcher’s enthusiam for car racing.