The McCain matriarch — "an American original," according to a family friend — was born in 1912

By Diane Herbst
February 07, 2019 10:32 AM

At 106 she attended the funeral of her son Sen. John McCain, and comforted her tearful granddaughter Meghan McCain during the service.

On Thursday, Roberta McCain turned 107.

Meghan wished her grandmother a very happy birthday on Instagram and Twitter, writing that she is “the epitome of strength and grace, an American treasure and one of my life role models.”

“Thank you for showing me and so many others how to truly live life on your own terms,” Meghan wrote. “I love you.”

Later Thursday on The View where she is a panelist, Meghan said she would be attending her grandmother’s party this coming weekend in D.C.

Asked by guest Ana Navarro if Roberta ever had “a hair out of place,” Meghan responded: “No, she sleeps in Chanel.”

“She was born before the Titanic sank, and she’s been through wars,” Meghan said before noting Robert was a regular watcher of The View.

“Hi Nanna,” Meghan told her.

In August, as Roberta grieved the loss of her son, who died of brain cancer at the age of 81, a close McCain family friend told PEOPLE that she was a “very strong woman” who’s retained her “spunky” spirit.

“She is all there, mentally, and is still going strong at 106,” the friend said. “She outlived her 81-year-old son. That tells you a lot. But it’s a tough blow to bury your child.”

Roberta McCain at the funeral last year for her son Sen. John McCain

Meghan, 34, opened up to PEOPLE about her relationship with Roberta ahead of her November 2017 wedding, four months after her father was diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer.

When asked about possibly not having her dad at her wedding, Meghan immediately thought of the endurance of her grandmother.

“The thing is [she] is 105 and still alive and well — my grandma Roberta,” Meghan said then. “This sounds arrogant, but it never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t live to be 105 and that all the people in my family wouldn’t live to be 105 because we have this really intensely weird DNA of strong people who live forever.

“So you just never think its going to be your family member,” she continued, “but … nobody knows what the future brings.”

From left: Sen. John McCain and his mother, Roberta McCain, in 2008
Erik Campos/The State/MCT/Getty
Roberta McCain in 2008
Matt Rourke/AP/REX/Shutterstock

At 96, a seemingly ageless Roberta gave a rousing speech during Sen. McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign at election headquarters.

In 2007, when Roberta was 95, PEOPLE spent time on with her on her son’s presidential campaign bus, nicknamed the “Straight Talk Express.”

At one point, Roberta teased the senator, “I want to correct you when you start telling all those big lies.”

Birthday wishes also came in on Twitter from Mark Salter, a close friend and adviser to her son, who wrote: “Happy 107th birthday to an American original, Roberta McCain.”

Friend and journalist Greta Van Susteren shared her own warm wishes Thursday, tweeting, “Happy 107th birthday to my best friend Roberta McCain….we have had coffee every week for 15 years (?) and she has charmed me every time..she has traveled the world and is wise and has give me great advice (and she loves me…and I love her).”