Voting for Britain’s new government began at 07:00 (BST) on Thursday, with 46.9 million people registered to vote in the general election.
That means today could be Theresa May’s final full day as UK Prime Minister.
Britain’s second female prime minister has been tasked with leading the country into an era of great political uncertainty, after the country voted to the leave the European Union in the historic Brexit referendum held on June 23 last year.
May – like her predecessor David Cameron – campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union. However, she has promised to deliver “the will of people” and make a success of Brexit.
But who is the woman who describes herself as a “bloody difficult woman”?
Scroll down for a look at the life of Theresa May in pictures.
This is 60-year-old UK Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Maidenhead Theresa May.
She was born Theresa Mary Brasier on October 1, 1956, into a middle-class family in Eastbourne, Sussex. She was the daughter of Church of England vicar, Hubert, and his wife, Zaidee.
Her father died from injuries sustained in a car crash when she was only 25, according to the BBC.
She was raised in Oxfordshire, and attended a state primary school, an independent covent school, and a grammar school in the village of Wheatley.
She reportedly worked in a bakery on Saturdays to earn pocket money, and was a “tall, fashion-conscuous young woman who from an early age spoke of her ambition to be the first woman prime minister,” according to her friends.
She studied Geography at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, which is where, in her third year in 1976, she met her husband Philip, now a banker.
According to the BBC, they were introduced at a Conservative Association disco by the subsequent Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto. They couple tied the knot in 1980 and have now been married for 36 years.
After graduating, she worked for the Bank of England in the City from 1977 until 1983, then became head of the European Affairs Unit of the Association for Payment Clearing Services from 1985 to 1995.
However, her political ambitions were clear from the start.
A university friend, Pat Frankland, told the BBC in 2011: “I cannot remember a time when she did not have political ambitions. I well remember, at the time, that she did want to become the first woman prime minister and she was quite irritated when Margaret Thatcher got there first.”
She was first elected as a local councillor in Merton, south London in 1986, where she stayed until 1994, eventually becoming deputy leader.
She first stood in the election for the Labour seat in North West Durham in 1992, but came second to Hilary Armstrong, who became Labour’s chief whip in the Blair government.
Two years later she stood in a by-election in Barking, east London, but got fewer than 2,000 votes.
In 1997 she was elected the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead, a constituency in Berkshire. She has held the post for 19 years.
Here she is asking her first question to former Prime mMinister Tony Blair in the House of Commons in 1998.
She was promoted to the shadow cabinet as shadow education secretary in 1999 under then-Conservative leader William Hague. From 1999 until 2010, she held a variety of shadow cabinet posts.
Here she is playing musical chairs in 2001 at an event for the Pre-school Learning Alliance.
She became shadow transport secretary in 2001. In 2002, she became the Conservative’s party’s first female chairman under Iain Duncan Smith.
She quickly became known to the media for her flashy shoe choices. Here she is in 2003 admiring the shoes of Iain Duncan Smith’s wife Betsy.
After being shadow culture media & sport secretary from 2004 to 2005, then shadow leader of the House of Commons from 2005 to 2009, she became shadow work & pensions secretary from 2009 to 2010.
She became Home Secretary in May 2010 when the Conservatives joined with the Lib Dems to form the first coalition government in 70 years. She has been the second longest serving home secretary in the past 100 years.
In the position, she made it her mission to “reform the police service and control immigration,” according to The Telegraph.
A private person, she surprised the media when in 2013, she revealed that she has Type 1 diabetes and would need to take injections twice a day for the rest of her life.
However, she said it would not affect her career.
She has also chosen not to flaunt her religion, despite being a practising member of the Anglican church.
Despite her prominence and power in British politics, the media continued to fixate on and photograph May’s love of fashion. Here she is in 2006 attending the Conservative Party Black & White Ball.
She told Vogue: “Look, throughout my political career, people have commented on what I wear. That’s just something that happens, and you accept that. But it doesn’t stop me from going out and enjoying fashion. And I also think it’s important to be able to show that a woman can do a job like this and still be interested in clothes.”
She has, at times, showed her lighter side.
On BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2014, her picks included Abba’s Dancing Queen.
She’s also fond of cricket.
She also told the BBC she enjoys cooking and has over 100 recipe books.
“[Philip and I] have a very good system,” she told Vogue. “I cook, and he puts everything in the dishwasher.” She added that he cooks a “very good mushroom risotto.”
Her career took a major turn when David Cameron resigned as prime minister after the Remain campaign lost the EU referendum that he called. The country was in a state of political uncertainty — and needed a new leader.
In July 2016, May was chosen by Conservative Party members and figures to become the party’s new leader and the UK’s new prime minister.
She is the first prime minister not to enter 10 Downing Street without children. Here, she stands with Philip.
She told Vogue: “It’s one of those things. We didn’t have children. You just get on with life.”
On her relationship with Philip, she told Vogue: “I think we argue about the same things that most people argue about-like, who has the remote? And what we’re watching tonight. His history program? No-NCIS!”
This is the couple’s permanent home is in Sonning. They also spend occasional weekends at Chequers — the prime minister’s official country house.
'When tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.' – ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows * Thinking back to the fabulous start to the week I had, enjoying a little Tea & Tattle holiday with @sophie_perdita at the gorgeous riverside hotel @the_great_house in Berkshire. We ambled along the river, met friends for wine at the local pub, and enjoyed fabulous food and views of the river from our hotel. It was so relaxing and wonderful to have a proper, in person catch-up! * The small things list: 1/ Long talks with good friends. 2/ Willow trees rustling in the breeze. 3/ Hot baths with lashings of bubble bath after a rainy day. * #daysofsmallthings
George and Amal Clooney also own a house in Sonning.
The couple also managed to take a summer holiday in August 2016 with Philip to the Alps in Switzerland. According to the BBC, May enjoys “occasional mountain walks.” It was while walking in the Welsh hills that she decided to hold a snap general election, she told the One Show.
In a short space of time, she has met and negotiated with world leaders, and was even the first foreign leader to visit Donald Trump as US President.
The meeting was not portrayed favourably by the media, and an image of the pair holding hands outside the White House quickly went viral.
However, she told Vogue: “I’m not afraid to raise issues. And the nature of the relationship is such that we should be able to be frank and open with each other.”
Here she is with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, US President Trump, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit on May 25, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium.
However, her time as Prime Minister has been turbulent. With Brexit looming and two recent terror attacks in the UK, May has received plenty of criticism.
In March, she signed the Article 50 letter that started the process towards Britain leaving the European Union. Throughout her time as PM, she has said it was to be a clean Brexit with no half measures.
She appeared on the cover of US Vogue in March and gave a rare, intimate interview.
The shoot, by iconic celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz, took place last year at the PM’s country retreat in Chequers, and shows May wearing an L.K.Bennett coat and dress.
She told the magazine: “It’s not a popularity stakes, being prime minister. I think what’s important is for people to feel that I’m delivering for them.”
In April, she called for a snap general election for June 8, telling the nation that she needs a stronger mandate before heading into Brexit talks with the EU.
Now, following a short campaign, the date has finally arrived, and Britain has gone to the polls.
If May wins, it’ll be her first general election victory as Conservative Party leader — and possibly the first of many.