JEREMY Hunt was in the bath with his baby sister Sarah when she drowned, it emerged today.
The Foreign Secretary, then a toddler, told his nanny the baby was “asleep” when she came back in to the bathroom.
Frantic attempts to revive ten-month-old Sarah were unsuccessful and she tragically died.
Mr Hunt revealed the heartbreaking family tragedy in an interview last night.
He said he was too young to remember it but added that his parents had been scarred by Sarah’s death.
The inquest into the accident was reported in the Kensington Post in March 1969.
It described how nanny Dianne Brady went to prepare dinner in the kitchen while two-and-half-year-old Jeremy and Sarah were both in the bath.
When she returned to the bathroom five minutes later, she found the baby lying face upwards and Jeremy said: “Sarah’s asleep.”
At the inquest, Mr Hunt’s father Nicholas defended the nanny from any suggestion of wrongdoing, saying: “We think she’s absolutely marvellous and both children absolutely adored her.”
Last night the Foreign Secretary confirmed the secret family heartache when it was put to him by ITV’s Robert Peston during an interview on his politics show.
Mr Hunt, 52, said: “She died in a terrible accident.
“I was too young to remember it, I was only two years old. I know it affected my parents. I never normally talk about this.”
The underdog leadership contender has never publicly discussed the family tragedy, despite serving nine years in the Cabinet and 14 as an MP.
But he said it didn’t prey on him as he grew up or in later life.
Former Health Secretary Mr Hunt said: “Maybe when I met people who had lost children, it brought something out of me.
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“But I wouldn’t claim this had a big effect on me personally.”
The Cabinet minister is the eldest son of senior Royal Navy officer Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt and his wife Meriel.
He was raised in Shere, Surrey, and was head boy at his public school Charterhouse, and now has three young children of his own.
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