High heels in the Kremlin: Thatcher's style secrets

Margaret Thatcher's bodyguard would carry her high heels into the Kremlin and the ex-prime minister wore trousers only down a coal mine, according to an auction catalogue of her belongings.

Auction house Christie's is selling off 350 belongings of the late "Iron Lady" including clothes, letters, books, furniture and jewellery next month.

Charles Powell, who acted as her private secretary, said Thatcher borrowed a fur coat and boots when she attended Soviet leader Yury Andropov's funeral because of the harsh winter weather in February 1984.

"Her Special Branch bodyguard loomed behind her, his pockets bulging with what Russian security assumed to be impressive weaponry," Powell was quoted as saying in the catalogue published this week.

"As they moved into the Kremlin and she removed her boots, he reached into his pockets and pulled out instead her high-heeled shoes," he added.

Thatcher's personal assistant Cynthia Crawford, affectionately known as "Crawfie", said she kept wardrobe diaries for the prime minister to ensure she was not seen in the same outfit two days in a row.

"Mostly she disliked trousers, I think we bought two or three trouser suits but she would never wear them," said Crawford, who worked for Thatcher for more than 35 years.

"The only time she wore a pair of trousers was when she went down a mine," she said.

She also revealed that Thatcher, the daughter of a dressmaker mother and grocer father, would recycle buttons from one outfit to the next.

"We used to take buttons off one outfit and put them on another, we didn't just throw them away, because a lot of them were very expensive," she said.

Thatcher's famous handbags were "a bit roomy because it had to take a compact and lipstick, a comb, a little notebook with a pen, not state papers particularly, but it had to be something that she could put a folded A4 page into", she added.

Crawford said she tried to dress Thatcher in the national colours of the countries she was visiting.

"When she went to Israel for instance, Mrs Thatcher wore a pale blue suit with a cream trim, the colour of the Israeli flag, and when we went to Poland she wore green because green is the colour of hope in Poland, and so on."