Penny Mordaunt reveals she took painkillers before King's coronation

Penny Mordaunt reveals she took painkillers to help her endure role of carrying ceremonial swords during King’s coronation – and explains how her navy training came in handy

Penny Mordaunt today revealed how painkillers, practice and toe wiggling helped her ace carrying ceremonial swords during the King’s 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 the majority of the service – and became one of the stars of the Coronation.

Speaking to the BBC she said: ‘I did take a couple of painkillers before just to make sure I was going to be alright’, adding that ‘practice’, ‘a good breakfast’, and ‘ comfortable shoes’ also helped her.

The Tory MP for for Portsmouth North said her Royal Navy training in the city equipped her with the knowledge that ‘wriggling your toes’ will ensure improved circulation while standing for long periods.

She said: ‘I was not in the gym for six months prior to this’ but added: ‘You want to make sure you are in good nick’.

For 51 minutes straight, Penny Mordaunt stood carrying the Sword of State, which weighs 3.6 kg (8 lb). She said that she took painkillers beforehand and ‘wriggled her toes’

A few minutes after surrendering the first sword, she was handed the (slightly lighter) Jewelled Sword of Offering, which she also held upright for the rest of the two-hour ceremony

She was speaking to Nick Robinson’s BBC Political Thinking podcast, where he asked about social media claims that her outfit was reminiscent of Poundland’s logo.

‘I say well done to the Great British public’, she replied.

The Leader of the House of Commons, and former Conservative leadership frontrunner, carried the 17th-century Sword of State in procession to the abbey.

Its silver-gilt hilt features the form of a lion and unicorn and the wooden scabbard is covered in red velvet with silver-gilt rose, thistle and fleur-de-lis emblems.

Later in the ceremony, Ms Mordaunt exchanged the Sword of State for the Jewelled Sword of Offering and delivered it to the archbishop.

The second sword was briefly clipped to the King’s coronation sword belt and then after a proclamation by the archbishop, the King 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.

Writing in the Telegraph, she described the occasion as a ‘humbling day’ and said she was ‘grateful’ that people had decided to recognise her role in the event.

Lord President of the Council, Penny Mordaunt, presents the Sword of State, to King Charles III, during the ceremony of the coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, at Westminster Abbey, in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023

She added: ‘It was a humbling day in every respect. Crowned heads and world leaders were just faces in the congregation. All came to bear witness to love, service and sacrifice. His Majesty the King served longer than anyone in history as Prince of Wales.

‘This is a life lived in the public eye. The royal family sets a parenthesis. We politicians should heed this example. We, too, have a choice. We can decide to narrow the parenthesis. Or we can decide to widen it. It takes courage, patience and judgment to listen to all views.

‘If people chose to recognise my role, then I’m grateful. But my gratitude and thanks are reserved for all who took part. You can choose dissent. You can choose duty. The real recognition for Saturday, though, belongs to all of us.’

Her performance of the highly visible role in proceedings attracted much praise from across the political spectrum.

She wrote that since Saturday, she had been ‘asked hundreds of times about how I felt about the coronation’.

She said: ‘The overriding emotion was one of great love. There are a thousand types of love and a thousand ways of showing it. What we saw on Saturday was a form of love. But we’re British, so we prefer the word duty.’

She wrote: ‘Where we were from on Saturday was diverse. Some protested. Most would disagree with such views.

‘Most would also defend their right to express them. That’s what democracy is about. It doesn’t mean unity. It’s about dissent.

‘Some think democracies are weak because of this and believe autocracies are somehow doing better. The reverse is true. At times like this, we are reminded of what we all have in common. And that we should cherish one another, and the differences and obligations between us.’

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