My part in the pomp: Meet the minister carrying a sword for King Charles

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LONDON ̵1; This Saturday, a top member of the British government receives one of the grandest consolation prizes in history.

Penny Mordaunt, who narrowly missed out on becoming Conservative Party leader and prime minister last year, will yet again take her place on the world stage in majestic fashion.

He poses as part of the procession for the coronation of King Charles III carrying the Sword of State, an important constitutional symbol, into Westminster Abbey.

“It’s drawing on all my military drill experience,” she says of the weapon, which, measuring 4 feet and weighing 8 pounds, requires some upper-body strength.

The Sword of State represents the authority of the monarch, and will be controlled by Mordaunt in his role as Lord President of the Privy Council, a body of advisors to the sovereign that includes senior elected politicians and ceremonial officials.

Mordaunt – who in her day job is the Leader of the House of Commons – must hold the blade at right angles to her body as she walks into the abbey in a procession that has been seconded in rehearsal.

During the service, she would exchange the heavy sword of state for a lighter sword of offering, which she would present to the king as part of a collection of sacred and secular items, including his crown, which symbolize the monarch’s responsibilities. ,

After that, in another piece of ancient pageantry, she would “buy” back the sword from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As the first woman to perform the ceremony at a coronation, Mordaunt has had the opportunity to put her own stamp on the occasion.

She told Politico in an interview that she “felt it was not right to wear the Privy Council’s customary black and gold court dress”, which was worn by the Marquess of Salisbury while working for Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and On occasion “wanted to offer something that was modern and gave a firm nod to heritage”.

Mordaunt has commissioned a dress stitched with the Privy Council’s fern motif that has been adapted and “feminised” by specialist atelier Hand & Lock, whose embroiderers have been working overtime turning out all the cyborgs on the uniform ahead of Saturday .

‘It’s going to be awesome’

This isn’t Mordaunt’s first brush with historic royal occasions. Since he was first appointed by former Prime Minister Liz Truss in September, he has chaired the Accession Council at the start of the king’s reign.

For that occasion, she had to wear black and the mood was gloomy.

Penny Mordaunt will carry the Sword of State into Westminster Abbey as part of the procession for the coronation of King Charles III. Carl Court/Getty Images

She says that although people had planned for the Queen’s death, “it was still a shock to everyone and a shock to the public – that a huge part of her life was gone. At the time, it was really It was about making sure that everything was going to be absolutely perfect, and that the king and the royal family didn’t have to worry about anything.”

On the contrary, she says “it would be a completely different mood – a joy.”

She compares the coronation to the London 2012 Olympics: “It’s going to be spectacular, it’s going to be beautiful, and the kind of thing that makes the whole country very proud.”

According to Mordaunt, the King has been closely focused on “all aspects of the whole weekend”, and “it will suit him and the Queen – it will say something about them.”

The monarch has already hosted the event, using wildlife and floral motifs for the invitations and choosing an anointing oil free of animal ingredients, which matches her long-standing interest in the environment. have put their seal.

More than 2,000 people will fill Westminster Abbey to watch the coronation, which will see members of the royal family, heads of state and foreign royals seated alongside celebrities and charity workers – a slimmed-down affair compared to 1953, when more than 8,000 guests Were.

mordant brushes rave report about the smaller guest list among MPs and peers, saying most MPs are hoping to return to “normal engagements” between Buckingham Palace and Westminster.

Whether this includes the king serving gin and tonics at Privy Council meetings, as his mother used to do, remains to be seen.