Politics

Why did Tory Cabinet member feature so prominently in coronation ceremony?

Tory Cabinet member Penny Mordaunt emerged as one of the stars of the coronation as she carried an enormous sword and then presented another to the King during the ceremony.

In her role as Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council, Ms Mordaunt carried the 17th-century Sword of State into Westminster Abbey – the first time that a woman has performed this role.

She was then presented with the Jewelled Sword of Offering, a smaller item which is decorated with silver, diamonds, rubies and emeralds.

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The sword, which symbolises royal power, was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury before Mordaunt then presented it to the King, who took it in his right hand and then clipped it into his girdle.

The sword was eventually returned to Ms Mordaunt, who carried it as she walked ahead of the King following his crowning.

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Ms Mordaunt, the MP for Portsmouth North, wore a teal caped dress with gold ferns embroidered into it, as well as a matching hat.

She used the uniform of the Privy Council to inspire the outfit, using a motif from the court dress of the council.

She said ahead of the ceremony that she had been exercising especially to ensure she could keep the 4ft (1.2m) sword that weighs 8lb (3.6kg) aloft.

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Highlights of the coronation of King Charles

Ms Mordaunt had to hold the Sword of State, which normally sits in the Tower of London, upwards at a right angle from her body.

Many on social media were impressed by her stint: TV presenter Dan Walker tweeted “What a shift from Penny Mordaunt. Finally she gets to put the sword down. Get her in the Olympics.”

And Labour shadow minister Emily Thornberry threw aside party allegiances, writing: “Got to say it, @PennyMordaunt looks damn fine! The sword bearer steals the show.”

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