And far from showing sympathy for a fellow European leader, French President Emmanuel Macron simply looked “smug”, Judi James said. Mrs May was “on the receiving end of what looks a ritual of mock surprise, shock and sympathy” from European Commission President Mr Juncker after arriving at the European Council meeting in Brussels last night, Ms James said. Days after her emotional resignation speech in from of Number 10, Ms May had initially seemed more relaxed, Ms James told Sun Online, exhibiting “air of relief bordering on jollity”.
She added: “Her eye-wrinkling and symmetric open-mouth smile suggest she’s having a few rare moments of genuine fun.”
However, her cheery demeanour quickly evaporated once Mr Juncker greeted her, and she began looking “edgy”.
Infamous footage of Mrs May and Mr Juncker at a previous summit appeared to show the Prime Minister angrily berating him.
Comparing with this previous meeting, when Mrs May’s face had “literally dropped”, there was a slight improvement, Ms James said.
However, she added: “Her approach here is less frosty, but only marginally so.”
Additionally, Mrs May did not appear overly keen to participate in one of Mr Juncker’s trademark embraces.
Ms James said: “Her right hand clutches his bicep in what looks like a gesture of control and she pats his arm quickly to signal the moment she wants to break from the ‘embrace’.”
As for Mr Macron, still coming to terms with a disastrous European elections showing which saw his En Marche party beaten into second place by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, Ms James said he had showed little emotion, looking “smug rather than sympathetic”.
Characterising Mr Macron as “a man worried that leadership resignations might be contagious”, she added: “His pace is set at a rush and although he initially holds both his arms out in an ‘empty embrace’ gesture to suggest warmth.
“He performs a speedy greeting before walking off – but he also grabs May’s right arm above the elbow for a moment as he is moving on in what looks like a very quick salute for a fallen colleague.”
In March, Ms James analysed five photographs of Theresa May for Express.co.uk, starting one taken after her confirmation as Tory leader on July, 2016, in which she described Mrs May’s confidence as “contagious”.
The analysis concluded with a shot of Mrs May addressing the nation after asking for an extension of Article 50 in March 2019 which demonstrated “anger, frustration and desperation”.
Ms James added: “With the notable exception of Donald Trump, all world leaders tend to age visibly and/or exhibit signs of pressure or stress during their time in office, but in the case of Theresa May the Herculean size of the task she picked up when she became PM the physical effort required and the increasing sense of political isolation and lack of support has created a faster metamorphosis than most.
“The most dramatic spike occurred within her first year in office when the shock election results caused a complete physical deflation, leading to conscious modifications as she went into battle rather than riding on what was seen to be a crest of popularity at the start.”
Theresa May will step down as Tory Party leader on June 7, but will continue as Prime Minister in a caretaker capacity until her successor is confirmed in July.
The 62-year-old has faced criticism in the past for her stiff public persona – but cracked as she concluded her speech confirming her decision to step down and left the lectern in tears.