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Panicked Theresa May phoned husband to explain Donald Trump hand-holding

 Donald Trump and Theresa May held hands as they walked along The Colonnade at The White House (Image: Getty Images)

The special relationship between Britain and the United States looked very strong when Donald Trump got into power.

Then British Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to get a taste of Trump in the White House.

When Mrs May arrived she was even given a surprise welcome from the man himself at the front door just days after his inauguration in January 2017.

But the meeting quickly took a bizarre twist as they walked to their first press conference together - resulting in the pair being widely mocked across the globe.

No one was more surprised than Mrs May herself when Trump grabbed hold of her hand.

Feeling "stuck", Mrs May was forced to keep a grip of the President's hand, but panicked afterwards and called her husband Philip to explain.

"He held her hand going through the colonnades, which took us all by surprise and took Theresa by surprise," says Fiona McLeod Hill, former Downing Street Chief of Staff, in BBC documentary Trump Takes on the World.

"But I think she felt she couldn't take her hand back so she was stuck with her hand in the hand.

"And the first thing she said [afterwards] was 'I need to call Philip just to let him know that I’ve been holding hands with another man before it hits the media'."

There was a suggestion that Trump, who is in his 70s, struggles going up and down stairs so needs support.

After Mrs May's trip to Washington her spokeswoman explained: "They were walking along. There was an unseen ramp. He put out his hand. She took it."

 British Prime Minister Theresa May with U.S. President Donald Trump (Image: Getty Images North America)

The hand holding returned when Trump visited the UK in July 2018 during another two occasions.

Trump grabbed onto Mrs May's hand as he climbed up the stairs of Blenheim Palace for a black tie sinner in his honour.

A thousand theories were sparked when he got hold of Mrs May's hand for the second and third time.

But in an awkward TV interview, the Prime Minister tried to insist it was totally innocuous.

She said: "I think what you notice is whenever he takes me down a slope or stairs, and he did it up the steps at Blenheim Palace, he takes my hand to help in going up the steps."

Asked if it made her look "submissive", Theresa May told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "Oh Andrew, come on."

While this would all suggest they had a strong working relationship, some inside the Trump camp reveal this was far from the case.

"The personal chemistry between President Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May was not great," says K. T. McFarland, former US Deputy National Security Adviser.

"President Trump thinks of himself as a strong leader and he likes to work with other strong leaders. Part of that is his business background. The image she gave was not one of strength."

While Gerrard Araud, French Ambassador to USA, makes the claim that Trump openly insulted Mrs May and German leader Angela Merkel during a visit to Paris.

He says Trump asked Macron what he thought of May and Merkel, but got no reply.

Trump was more than willing to give his opinion, reportedly telling Macron: "They are losers."

The hand-holding episode wasn't even the strangest thing that happened during Mrs May's first meeting with Trump.

The former US President had a meltdown of epic proportions after being humiliated by his own White House staffers in front of his British counterpart.

"When Theresa May sat down a conversation began that I don't think even the British could have anticipated," says Thomas Shannon, then US Under Secretary for Political Affairs.

"It was our President in full blossom, full bloom. And a stream of consciousness that ran the gamut from his own inauguration to his disdain for the press in the United States."

 The hand-holding continued back in the UK (Image: REUTERS)

Mrs May had heard Trump speak positively about his potential relationship with Vladimir Putin during his campaign.

Wanting to give him some tips on dealing with the Russian President, Mrs May asked if Trump had spoken directly to Putin.

When Trump confirmed he had not, the Chief of Staff spoke up and said: "Mr President actually President Putin has called you but we're busy scheduling a return call."

Furious Trump exploded in rage at his White House aides during the "toe-curling" moment - and would not let the matter go.

"Trump at this point looks not orange, but red," jokes Fiona McLeod Hill, former Downing Street Chief of Staff.

"He flipped, furious. He said, 'You’re telling me Vladimir Putin called the White House and you’re only telling me now during this lunch?'

"Honestly you could feel the tumbleweed just completely take over the entire lunch table and my toes were curling."

Inconsolable Trump dropped his shoulders at that point, looked at Mrs May and said: "I don't believe this.

"Vladimir Putin is the only man in the world who can destroy the United States and I didn’t take his call."

According to Shannon, Trump suddenly realised he was "playing out" in front of the British delegation and the Prime Minister.

"It was a unseemly moment in the early days of his administration so he changed the subject," explains Shannon.

Trump asked Mrs May what her position on climate change was, and she was halfway through saying she is an ardent fan of conversation when she was rudely interrupted.

Suddenly Trump stopped, turned to National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and said: "You're telling me that VP called the White House and you didn't tell me?"

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