LONDON – Margaret Thatcher was laid to rest Wednesday with prayers and ceremony, plus cheers and occasional jeers, as Britain paused to remember a leader who transformed the country — for the better according to many, but in some eyes for the worse.

Soaring hymns, Biblical verse and fond remembrances echoed under the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, as 2,300 relatives, friends, colleagues and dignitaries attended a ceremonial funeral for Britain’s only female prime minister.

Queen Elizabeth II, current and former prime ministers and representatives from 170 countries were among the mourners packing the cathedral, where Bishop of London Richard Chartres spoke of the strong feelings Thatcher still evokes 23 years after leaving office.

“The storm of conflicting opinions centers on the Mrs. Thatcher who became a symbolic figure — even an -ism,” he said. “It must be very difficult for those members of her family and those closely associated with her to recognize the wife, the mother and the grandmother in the mythological figure.”

“There is an important place for debating policies and legacy … but here and today is neither the time nor the place,” he added.

Security was tight, but while thousands of supporters and a smaller number of opponents traded shouts and arguments, there was no serious trouble.

Before the service, Thatcher’s coffin was driven from the Houses of Parliament to the church of St. Clement Danes for prayers.

An honor guard of soldiers in scarlet tunics and bearskin hats saluted the coffin as it approached St. Paul’s, while red-coated veterans known as Chelsea Pensioners stood to attention on the steps.

Guests inside the cathedral included Thatcher’s political colleagues, rivals and her successors as prime minister: John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Vice President Dick Cheney were among the American dignitaries, while notable figures from Thatcher’s era included F.W. de Klerk, the last apartheid-era leader of South Africa; former Polish President Lech Walesa; ex-Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and entertainers such as singer Shirley Bassey and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Afterward, the crowd gathered outside cheered and applauded as Thatcher’s coffin was carried out to the half-muffled peal of the cathedral bells.

The former prime minister will be cremated, in keeping with her wishes.

The woman nicknamed the Iron Lady brought major change to Britain during her 11-year tenure from 1979 to 1990, privatizing state industries, deregulating the economy, and causing upheaval whose impact is still felt.

She died April 8 at age 87.