Mrs May followed the tactics of the souk visitor who starts carpet-buying negotiations by striding towards the door-flap saying ‘there’s nothing much I want here’.

That is usually a surer way of securing a cheap carpet than by biting on your lip and claiming, as David Cameron half-heartedly did, that ‘nothing is off the table’.

We were in the Long Gallery, where Churchill threw his Coronation banquet in 1953. Wedding-cake architecture abounded. The room was long and high enough for a couple of professional cricket nets at each end. Boris, Liam Fox and Amber Rudd sat at Mrs May’s feet, not far from our new man in Brussels, Sir Tim ‘Beardy’ Barrow.

We reptiles of the Press were off to stage left. I was a few yards from glamorously coiffed Jacqueline Minor, European Commission envoy to London, in what looked like a Hermes scarf.

Mrs May entered alone. Trousers billowing, she took her place in front of a pale lectern marked ‘A Global Britain’. There were no pleasantries.