The first time Theresa May entered the classroom of her new school she had to be carried through the door kicking and screaming.
"What a silly little girl," the headmistress told 5-year-old Theresa.
She never forgot the insult.
And so began a school career that could be said to have been a foretaste of what lay ahead when she entered the House of Commons.
She would achieve dizzying success — places at grammar school and then at Oxford, a seat at the Cabinet table and ultimately the keys to No 10 — but endure repeated humiliations and never really win the affection of either those in authority or her peers.
The rather solitary little girl, an only child more comfortable talking to her elders than friends her own age, grew to be a lonely Prime Minister.
Her husband and a tiny handful of advisers replaced the usual giant entourage of ministers, aides and companions premiers rely upon to sustain them.
It is often said of May that she lacks the capacity to either compromise or acknowledge voices outside her minuscule circle of trust.
Recently that inner circle shrank to just one: her husband, Philip, giving May's latter days at Downing Street a siege-like atmosphere, where she was the last to appreciate her days in the bunker were drawing to a close.
The foundations for this blinkered mindset lie in the vicarage where she grew up in rural Oxfordshire.
May's father, Hubert Brasier, an Anglo-Catholic vicar so "high" he contemplated becoming a monk, and her mother, Zaidee, came late to parenthood. The home they raised young Theresa in was quiet and ordered. She enjoyed cooking with her mother and discussing cricket and current affairs with her father.
At 12 she began the relationship that has meant more to her than any bar that with her parents and husband: a love affair with the Conservative Party. Without the usual distractions of teenage years, Saturdays were spent stuffing leaflets into envelopes at the local Tory HQ.
May's fellow pupils at Wheatley Park School remember her as quiet and studious. She took part in the school's mock election of 1974 — but lost to the girl supporting Labour. One of her teachers remembers her delivering a compelling speech, easily the best of the candidates, but she lacked the friendships and charm to woo the waverers.
It was at Oxford, where she studied geography, that May came across more like-minded souls. It was her most glamorous friend, Benazir Bhutto, the future prime minister of Pakistan, who in her final year introduced her to Philip. They clicked instantly.
Living in Wimbledon, they both began careers in banking and held ambitions for public service. Tragically, within a year of the Mays' marriage in 1981, her father was killed in a car crash and a few months later her mother Zaidee died of the multiple sclerosis that had begun to affect her when May was still a schoolgirl. The events were so shattering that May could not bring herself to tell her friends, many of whom did not find out until some years later.
As she later recalled, Philip's was the only support she needed: "He was a real rock for me", she once said. "He has been, all the time we've been married, but particularly then."
May entered Parliament in 1997. But it took her 13 more years to reach a top post, under Prime Minister David Cameron, when she became Home Secretary in 2010.
At night, while she was waiting to vote, the Mays would dine together in one of Parliament's restaurants. She was not seen in the bars and rarely stopped by a colleague's office to chat. She appeared to acknowledge this as a failing when she addressed fellow MPs last week, saying: "I don't tour the bars and engage in the gossip".
As a lesson finally learnt, it came 20 years too late. Through a variety of roles, May never learned the knack of listening to other people's ideas or accepting alternative viewpoints. It was her and Philip against the world, and that was enough.
Finally achieving the top job at 59 must have felt like a huge affirmation. She enjoyed the prestige of it, the respect, the honour. However tough it got, for all the insults and abuse, there was never any question that she would stand aside before she was actually forced to.
It is often said that being a prime minister is a lonely job.
For a woman like May, who craves respect rather than love or affection, it must have felt like the perfect fit for a while. Her self-reliance, honed from her life experiences, had brought her an immunity from needing close friends and may have given the impression of inner steel — but it masked a stubborn core.
She failed to see she lacked the skills of persuasion and compromise necessary to be a truly successful prime minister, particularly given the impossible task of Brexit.
And by the end, there was no one left to tell her otherwise.
•Rosa Prince is the author of Theresa May: the Enigmatic Prime Minister