George Osborne was moved to tears during the funeral service for Baroness Thatcher despite hardly knowing the former prime minister.
The Chancellor, who is a huge admirer of the Iron Lady, could be seen crying as he sat with his wife Frances behind David and Samantha Cameron.
Aides to the Tory Cabinet minister declined to elaborate on his emotional response at the service which was attended by the Queen - saying it "speaks for itself".
Mr Osborne was only 19 when Lady Thatcher left power in 1990 and his formative political years were dominated by Tony Blair.
But in an article after the former Tory leader's death last week, he wrote of the "overpowering" effect of her historical significance on his generation of Conservatives.
"I remember bringing my young son to a tea in the House of Lords with Baroness Thatcher a few years ago and trying to explain to him as we walked along the corridor that he was about to meet a great figure from British history," he wrote in The Times.
"I said to him that just as he was now studying at school the lives of Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell and Winston Churchill, so schoolchildren for hundreds of years to come would study the life and times of a woman he was nervously about to have tea with. He told me that they already were studying her.
"Sometimes that sense of historical greatness risks being overpowering for the two generations of politicians who have come after her, including my own.
"Whatever we try to achieve and whatever parliamentary battles we fight, all seem to shrink in size alongside the struggles and triumphs of Margaret Thatcher."
Mr Osborne said he had watched "bemused" in his rooms at Magdalen College, Oxford, as Lady Thatcher was ejected from Downing Street.
He said he met her "a few times" following his election as MP for Tatton in 2001 but their only long one-to-one meeting was after he became shadow chancellor in 2005.
She left a "powerful impression", he recalled, despite already being unwell and "unengaged with contemporary issues".
"She was flowing with advice to me: you can't spend what your country hasn't got; strong defence rests on a strong economy; in Parliament, if you're not on the attack you're in retreat. Wow!," he wrote.
"I saw for myself for the first and only time why she had been such a force of political nature throughout my whole life."
Mr Osborne described himself as one of "Thatcher's children", praising her optimism about the human spirit.
In a 2005 interview with The Independent, Mr Osborne pointed out that he was too young to remember many of Lady Thatcher's biggest battles.
"For much of my life, Tony Blair has been the dominating figure of British politics," he said.
"Because of my age, I don't look back on the Thatcher years or have memories of the winter of discontent. My adult lifetime has been about a Blair-dominated political environment."
Mr Osborne was also said to be pleased when the Daily Mail ran a Budget front page in March which merged his picture with Lady Thatcher's.