Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was happy to bring presents and decorations for staff during her time as prime minister, and happily got down on all fours to scrub dog dirt trodden into the carpet by a member of her security team.

That is according to her former bodyguard, 68-year-old Barry Strevens, who told the Sun he would gladly "stand in the way of a bullet" for his "concerned" and "'motherly" boss.

Strevens, who guarded Thatcher for 20 years, revealed that his heart "sank" when he was handed the job of looking after Thatcher in 1978, given the fearsome reputation which would eventually earn her the nickname 'the iron lady'.

"I thought I was in for a rough time of it," he said.

"This was the woman who had earned herself the nickname 'Thatcher, milk snatcher' for taking free milk off school children. She had strong views and was fiercely right wing, which was anathema for me. I just hoped it would be a short detail."

However he was soon disabused of his preconceptions when Thatcher fussed over him following a minor motoring accident. A few years later, at Christmas, she took time to decorate the austere outbuilding he was staying in at Chequers, and even brought him presents to celebrate the festive season.

Upon seeing dog mess trodden into the carpet of her home by one of Strevens' colleagues, Baroness Thatcher told her bodyguard "never mind, we're in the country now," She then sank to her "hands and knees" and began to scrub.

"I was taken aback by how motherly she was and her genuine concern," Strevens said.

"I knew I would stand in the way of a bullet for Margaret Thatcher without hesitation."

However, Strevens also revealed Thatcher's husband had his cheeky side - in fact he once had to intravene when Dennis slipped a copy of Playboy into a plane.

Dennis pretended to read a title about house-keeping, while secretly enjoying the adult magazine during a long flight.

"We were travelling by private jet to America and we were all reading magazines to pass the time," recounted Strevens.

"Denis appeared to be reading House & Garden but it actually had a copy of Playboy inside.

"Lady Thatcher finished her magazine and leaned over to take Denis's. He threw me a panicked look, so I quickly offered her mine instead, which saved him from a roasting. The relief on his face was a picture."