Theresa May was in Brussels last week to discuss efforts to restart Brexit negotiations with the European Council and one photographer managed to get the perfect photograph to depict the tone of the event.

On Friday (20 October) the PM waited in a conference room to meet with members of the council including its President Donald Tusk. Before his arrival, AFP photographer Geert Vanden Wijngaert took a photo of May sitting at the table alone, surrounded by empty chairs. Looking tired and disappointed, the prime minister's expression became a symbol of the bleak future the UK could expect, having chosen to separate from the European Union.

The image went viral on the internet, with a range of memes that mocked the PM herself as well as the whole pro-Brexit movement.

"Pictures of Theresa May at European summits increasingly look like she's attending a funeral. Apt," one person commented, while another compared it to "when me and my mates arrange to meet in the pub at 8 and I get there at five past."

The viral image was followed by a report by German newspaper FAZ, which claimed that during the meet in Belgium, May allegedly "begged for help" from the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to finalise an appropriate Brexit deal.

Theresa May
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a news conference during an European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium REUTERS/Francois Lenoir