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Coronation: I took painkillers before carrying sword, says Penny Mordaunt

Coronation: I took painkillers before carrying sword, says Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt has said she took a couple of painkillers to help her get through her role of carrying ceremonial swords during the King's Coronation.
The Tory minister won praise for her stamina, carrying the 17th Century Sword of State and Jewelled Sword of Offering for more than an hour.

Working on the coronation has been a "huge privilege", Ms Mordaunt said.

She told Nick Robinson's Political Thinking podcast she enjoyed becoming a hit on social media after the ceremony.

"I was reunited with my phone and found I had become a meme," she said.

She said she saw photoshopped images on social media of the sword replaced by a kebab, and the laurel motif on her dress likened to Poundland's corporate branding.

"I say well done to the Great British public."

Asked if she had been in training, 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.

"I did take a couple of painkillers before just to make sure I was going to be all right."

Ms Mordaunt said her navy training in Portsmouth also helped her know how to keep her circulation going by "wriggling your toes".

Anyone hoping to emulate her feat should "practise", "have a good breakfast", and "wear comfortable shoes", she added.

She carried the 17th Century Sword of State made for Charles II into Westminster Abbey, and exchanged it for the Jewelled Sword of Offering, which symbolises royal power and the monarch accepting his duty and knightly virtues.

She carried the Jewelled Sword of Offering, with hilt encrusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, for the rest of the service and walked with it in front of the King as he left the abbey.

They were two of four swords used in the ceremony, a practice which dates back to the coronation of Richard the Lionheart in 1189.

Notably, Ms Mordaunt became the first woman to carry and present the sword.

Odds on Ms Mordaunt becoming the next leader of her party were slashed by betting companies at the weekend after her performance at the Coronation.

As she returned to her day job as leader of the House of Commons, she was praised - and ribbed - by her political opponents, before the usual hostilities resumed.

Labour's shadow leader of the house, Thangam Debbonaire said Ms Mordaunt was a "symbol of solemnity" and a "credit to this House as our representative".

Her SNP counterpart Deidre Brock said she showed "commendable upper body strength".

"It appears carrying a lethal weapon and wearing an imperial style outfit now makes her favourite to be the next Tory leader," Ms Brock added.

The run up to the coronation was a "highly emotional time", she said.

"It is nice to be recognised and I think I was a bit of a metaphor for everyone on the day - everyone did their bit, everyone did it really well."

Ms Mordaunt's dress also sparked numerous comments, with people on social media comparing her to Princess Leia from Star Wars.

"That's not the look I was going for," she said.

While her predecessors would have worn "formal dress, which is black", Ms Mordaunt said she wanted to reflect the modern tone of the coronation "with historical references".

"I thought I'm going to buy a modern dress," she said, explaining that she decided to embroider it with the fern motif of the Privy Council "as a nod to the past".

Alongside her role as Leader of the House, Ms Mordaunt is also Lord President of the Privy Council, both positions given to her by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss in September.

The Privy Council role normally requires chairing meetings of the group of the UK's most senior politicians, who are charged with presenting business to the King.

As president of the council, Ms Mordaunt was also responsible for announcing the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the Accession Council last autumn.

Asked about suggestions she was deliberately given the normally low-profile role to keep her out of the spotlight, Ms Mordaunt said: "I can't speculate as to why people have done something.

"But if that was the plan it has not worked out well."
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