WHERE there is discord, may we bring harmony. So said Theresa May after becoming Prime Minister in the aftermath of the 2016 Referendum, before announcing a balanced Brexit strategy that both leavers and remainers could get behind.

I’m joking, of course. Say what you like about Brexit but harmony isn’t quite at the top of the vocabulary list in describing how the process has gone. I was away teaching in Spain last week to a group from across the continent: the unravelling of the country’s reputation in international eyes is something to behold. At the risk of inviting below-the-line comments that accompany any Brexit article, hats off to all those who travelled to London for the march on Saturday, and (at the time of writing) to the almost 10 per cent of Salisbury residents who have signed the Revoke Article 50 petition.

The Francis of Assisi quote at the top of the article was actually said forty years ago by one of Theresa May’s predecessors, Margaret Thatcher, when she took office in May 1979. Thatcher and her time in office is the subject of Handbagged, Moira Buffini’s critically acclaimed play that opens at the Playhouse next week. The play focuses around the weekly meeting that takes place between monarch and prime minister, a relationship that, in the case of Margaret Thatcher and the Queen, was not always the most relaxed.

As dramatic devices go, this weekly get-together is manna for a scriptwriter. Because the meetings aren’t made public, or even minuted, there is plenty of artistic license to imagine how these one-to-ones might play out. Peter Morgan used the set-up for his 2006 film The Queen, in which Michael Sheen and Helen Mirren captured the relationship between Tony Blair and the Queen in the aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Morgan then went on to write The Audience, which chronicled the various meetings between the Queen and her Prime Ministers from Winston Churchill through to David Cameron. This, in turn, became the starting point for the Netflix series The Crown, various scenes of which are filmed down the road at Wilton House.

Buffini’s play, by contrast, focuses in on the specific relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher. It is a far more playful, far funnier telling that Morgan’s accounts, with plenty of knowing asides from the two additional actors playing everyone else from Ronald Reagan to Neil Kinnock. And although the title suggests that Thatcher has the upper hand, it is in fact the monarch who quietly comes out on top.

How these meetings compare with those between the Queen and our current Prime Minister, only time will tell.

Handbagged is at Salisbury Playhouse from April 4.