The talking point of the Coronation wasn’t the new king, nor was it Prince Harry’s return: it was Penny Mordant, who carried the bejewelled Sword of Offering in Westminster Abbey and stole the whole show.
Mordant, a Conservative MP, became the first woman in history to carry and present the sword, which she presented to King Charles after it was blessed by the Archbishop.
Her surprisingly big role in the coronation was due to her appointment last September as Lord President of the Privy Council and Leader of the House of Commons. The Privy Council is made up of senior politicians and ceremonial officers, and has a duty to advise the monarch.
“Penny Mordaunt’s sword is the ‘Pippa Middleton’s bum’ of the coronation,” feminist author Caitlin Moran tweeted, referring to Pippa Middleton‘s show-stealing bridesmaid’s dress at the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.
Mordaunt, for those not familiar with British politics, was the woman in the royal blue dress and cape, adorned with gold leaf detail. But it wasn’t her coronation outfit that had everyone talking; it was the fact that she was a British MP stuck carrying a diamand-encrusted, monstrously heavy sword for hours.
“The person truly caught my attention during the ceremony is the sword lady, her outfit is immaculate and she’s holding that sword for hours in heels, what an icon,” one person tweeted.
Another person put it quite succinctly with: “A moment, if you will, for Penny Mordaunt wielding a big ass sword.”
She was holding the sword for the majority of the one-hour coronation, which is no mean feat for a sword containing a large number of (rather heavy) diamonds and precious stones.
What is the Sword of Offering?
The Sword of Offering is one of the British Crown Jewels, and was made for Georga IV’s coronation in 1821. It’s presented to the new monarch by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and is a symbol of the protection of good and the punishment of evil.
Mordaunt presented it to King Charles’ right hand, before being fastered to His Majesty’s waist using the sword belt. After that, Charles offered it at the alter, where it was received by the Dean and redeemed with the offering of 100 newly minted 50p coins. And after that, the sword went right back to Mordant, who carried it before the King for the remainder of the ceremony.
It was one of the most sacred parts of the entire coronation; so, naturally, everyone turned it into a joke. That’s the true British spirit.