Later in life, the stresses on Winston Churchill began to take their toll, sometimes manifesting in extended sleep walking sessions. Typically these did not interfere with his responsibilities as Prime Minister, but on March 22, 1955, all that changed.
He began his day normally, with tea and crumpets, but soon fell into a deep sleep. Despite Clementine’s best efforts to rouse him, he refused to leave his bedroom chambers, bellowing “Winston Churchill naps when Winston Churchill WANTS to nap!” Clementine knew that Winston had to be at a Parliamentary meeting in the House of Lords at five o’clock, so after a few hours, she went to check on him. Much to her dismay, Winston was nowhere to be found.
Worried that he had fallen into one of his “spells,” she began a frantic search. Unfortunately, she was too late. Winston had already left the premises and was en route to the meeting, still fast asleep!
When he arrived at the House of Lords, it was immediately apparent that something was different about Winston. His eyes were shut and his normally jovial demeanor had been replaced with a catatonic trance. Miraculously, he was still able to navigate and managed to make it to his seat, where he proceeded to observe the meeting. As the session was drawing to a close, Winston suddenly stood up and exclaimed “Let’s see you put that in a film, Ms. Riefenstahl!” and promptly woke up.
Embarrassed and confused, Winston struggled to regain his composure, however this incident is thought by historians to be an important factor in his decision to resign two weeks later, on April 7, 1955.