While both Theresa May and Donald Trump were keen to impress upon the global audience tuning into their first joint press conference in Washington of the "special relationship" between their two countries, a photo of the two leaders seemed to indicate their own rather special bond.

The pair were photographed holding hands as they took a walk through the White House, in a candid moment, just before the press conference.

The image has sparked a social media meltdown with commentators expressing their horror at the unexpected display of affection.

"Theresa May makes a speech where she goes on about a "special relationship" and not 24 hours later she's holding hands with Trump? "wrote one incredulous Twitter user.

"My head has gone with the pictures of Trump & May holding hands. That was my breaking point," said another.

"I've seen some pretty horrible things. But May and Trump holding hands?"

"Inquiring minds want to know... just how well are they getting to know each other?" remarked one commentator.

Both leaders used the news conference to reinforce their commitment to the "special relationship" between the US and UK, with Trump stating: "We pledge our lasting support to this most special relationship."

May, who was the first world leader to visit Donald Trump in Washington after his inauguration last Friday, said an "even stronger special relationship" was in the interests of the wider world.

While May and Trump have made a public declaration of their special relationship, we asked body language expert and psychologist Judi James to offer her insight what might have prompted the global leaders to hold hands on the world stage.