Penny Mordaunt acting as sword bearer
Penny Mordaunt revealed how she prepared for her starring role carrying ceremonial swords at the Coronation. As Lord President of the Council she was responsible for bearing The Sword of State and presenting The Jewelled Sword of Offering to the King – the first time it has been carried and presented by a woman.
Dressed in a custom-made teal outfit with a matching cape and headband with gold feather embroidery, she held and carried the pieces for more than an hour at the service at Westminster Abbey.
Ms Mordaunt, who is also the Leader of the House of Commons, said she had been doing press-ups in preparation and practising in rehearsals with weighted replicas.
The Portsmouth North MP, who took part in the ITV diving show Splash! in 2014, also said her experience as a Royal Navy Reservist helped prepare her for standing for long periods of time without fainting.
Speaking to The Times’ Red Box Politics podcast ahead of the ceremony, Ms Mordaunt said: “The Lord President of the Council is really the chairman of the King’s Privy Council.
“It used to be the executive for the King, and it still does a lot of business and it’s an important part of our constitution and the authority that we have in Parliament.
“On the day I am representing the King’s authority, and I am going to be doing a number of things.
“One of them will be carrying the Sword of State which is the heaviest sword so I’ve been doing some press-ups to train for that.
“It has to be carried at right angles to the body, hence the need to do press-ups.
“It’s pointing upwards, holding out in front of you, for some time.”
Asked if she was able to practice with the real thing, she said: “We get to practise with some replicas which are weighted.”
On whether her Navy experience was coming in handy, Ms Mordaunt said: “It is, especially standing for long periods of time not fainting.”
The Tory MP’s practice appeared to have paid off today as she sparked a social media buzz.
Labour MP Emily Thornberry said: “Got to say it, Penny Mordaunt looks damn fine! The sword bearer steals the show.”
Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis asked: “Is Penny Mordant the new Pippa Middleton? She has stolen the show!”
Former BBC presenter Simon McCoy said: “Penny Mordaunt would be a great King #Sword.”
Labour MP Chris Bryant quipped: “The Penny is mightier than the sword.”
Television presenter Dan Walker added: “What a shift from Penny Mordaunt. Get her in the Olympics.”
Ms Mordaunt carried the 17th-century Sword of State in procession to the abbey.
Later in the ceremony, she exchanged the Sword of State for the Jewelled Sword of Offering and delivered it to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The second sword was briefly clipped to the King’s sword belt and then after a proclamation by the Archbishop, the monarch stepped forward and offered up the sword.
It was then placed on the altar and redeemed with “redemption money” by Ms Mordaunt.
The sword was later drawn and she carried it in its “naked” form – without its scabbard – before the King for the rest of the service.
The Jewelled Sword of Offering has a hilt encrusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds and a scabbard decorated with jewelled roses, thistles and shamrocks.
It symbolises royal power and being able to decide between good and evil, and the King accepting his duty and knightly virtues.
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