Winston Churchill correctly predicted the day he would die, his granddaughter has revealed.

The wartime leader had told friends for up to ten years before his death that he would pass away on the same day of the year as his father had - January 24.

And, when he fell ill, relatives and friends were so convinced he would be right that they even instructed Buckingham Palace to delay planning for Sir Winston's state funeral, according to the Daily Mail.

His granddaughter Celia Sandys told the Chalke Valley History Festival: "At his 90th birthday, on November 30, 1964, the unspoken thought around the table was that his meeting with his maker, as he put it, could not be long delayed.


"Six weeks later he had this massive stroke and for ten days he was pretty comatose in bed.

"The Queen's secretary was ringing up, saying: "How is he?

"What they really meant was when shall we start making preparations for [Churchill's state funeral] Operation Hope Not.

"And so every time, [private secretary] Anthony Montague Browne would say well it will be another few days yet.

"And they would say how could you possibly know?

"He explained this, and it was going on day after day with everyone asking how is he."

His father, Tory chancellor Lord Randolph Churchill, had died on January 24, 1895.

Miss Sandys, author of Chasing Churchill: Travels With Winston Churchill, said: "He had said some years before that he was going to die on the anniversary of Lord Randolph's death, his father - so what made him say that?

"So on January 24, early in the morning, we gathered around his bed to say goodbye and 70 years to the day, and probably to the minute... He slipped imperceptibly away to meet his maker. It's uncanny really."

Miss Sandys - the last living member of Sir Winston's family to have been present at his death - was joined at Chalke Valley by historian Andrew Roberts.

Mr Roberts said: "What makes it even more uncanny is that he had been saying that for ten years.

"The first time he said it was to [private secretary] Jock Colville in 1955."

There have been more than 140 speakers at Manor Farm, Ebbesbourne Wake, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, for the festival - which ended yesterday - as well as living history events and recreations.