It was already set to be a pretty nerve-wracking day for Theresa May. With just three days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, it was announced that the PM would travel – cap in hand – to Berlin and Paris to ask for another short delay to Brexit.
So what the prime minister probably didn’t need was to turn up in Germany’s capital city to be greeted by... absolutely no-one.
It is customary for prime ministers and presidents to meet leaders from their cars when hosting official meetings. But film crews on the scene in Berlin on Tuesday afternoon caught May pull up to an empty red carpet.
The PM strode into the building... only to return moments later with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Laughing, the pair posed for photos, with Merkel telling May: “Hello, good to see you.”
It’s not the first time the PM has had car trouble while in Germany – Merkel was awkwardly left waiting for her British counterpart after May got herself stuck in her car.
The prime minister was eventually freed – but only after a handful of toe-curlingly embarassing seconds.
May’s meeting with Merkel on Tuesday was the first of a whistlestop tour of western Europe.
The prime minister will later travel to Paris to meet with President Macron – though the French leader is expected to take a much harder line on the UK’s request.
The meetings are ahead of an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday, where EU27 leaders will vote on whether the UK should be allowed an extension to Article 50.
There are fears among Brexiteers that the European Union could reject May’s request for a short delay, effectively forcing the UK to remain in the EU and participate in elections.