Many of the millions watching the Coronation of King Charles might have wondered who was the woman in the teal dress carrying a sword in front of the King? It turns out it was Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council.
She became the first woman to carry the sword of state – a symbol of the new king’s authority – during the procession at Westminster Abbey.
Her task in the ceremony included carrying the heavy sword for a full 51 minutes, which weighs eight pounds (3.6kg), before exchanging it for the jewelled sword of offering and presenting that to Charles. Mordaunt kept a serious face and did not break a sweat while she was watched by thousands of people.
Mordaunt previously told Matt Chorley on Times Radio that she had been doing press-ups ahead of the big day and had practised using a weighted replica. “Spare a thought for Penny Mordaunt’s triceps after nearly two hours,” wrote one person, as another quipped: “What a shift from Penny Mordaunt. Finally she gets to put the sword down. Get her in the Olympics.”
Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, tweeted during the event: “Don’t let anyone ever say I never say anything positive about Tories . . . I am in awe of Penny Mordaunt’s arm and shoulder strength!”
Mordaunt Tweeted: “Honoured to be part of the #coronation with thousands of others who played their part. I’m very aware that our armed forces, police officers and others have been marching or standing for hours as part of the ceremony or to keep us all safe. In comparison, my job was rather easier. “Huge and heartfelt thanks to all who made this so remarkable. I’m so proud of you all and the King and Queen today.”
As President of the Privy Council, she became the first woman in UK history to proclaim a new monarch.
The politician wore a teal caped dress designed by luxury ready-to-wear brand Safiyaa, embroidered with a fern motif, which is a nod to the privy council. The teal colour, called “Poseidon”, is a reference to her Portsmouth constituency. She arrived wearing ballerina flats, with studded bows and later changed into a pair of nude stilettos.
A source told The Sunday Times last month: “She is paying for [her outfit] herself as there is no budget for it, and no question that any taxpayers’ money should be spent on it. Penny has said that after the coronation she might sell it and use the money to fund future uniforms for women.”
Fans of fantasy TV and film, like Game of Thrones to Star Wars watchers, grew excited on social media, comparing her look to a fictional warrior princess in “gladiator robes”.
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