King Charles III Coronation: Penny Mordaunt laughs off Poundland meme

‘This is what I love about the great British public’: Penny Mordaunt laughs off Poundland meme after she was teased over her teal Coronation outfit – before This Morning stars Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond have a go at carrying the Sword of State

  • Lord President of the Council Penny Mordaunt held Sword of State at ceremony
  • Helped to design custom-made teal outfit with a matching cape and headband

This Morning presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond had a go at carrying the Sword of State live on air today – as Penny Mordaunt laughed off the Poundland meme about her Coronation outfit which she helped to design.

As Lord President of the Council, Ms Mordaunt was responsible at Westminster Abbey for bearing the Sword of State and presenting the Jewelled Sword of Offering to the King – the first time the role has been carried out by a woman.

The Cabinet minister, wearing a custom-made teal outfit with a matching cape and headband with gold feather embroidery, held the pieces for much of the service.

And Ms Mordaunt, whose performance and stamina during the highly visible role won praise across the political spectrum, brought the sword with her to the This Morning sofa today so O’Leary and Hammond could have a try at holding it.

The sword was brought onto the set by Prince Philip’s close friend Gyles Brandreth who joked that he was auditioning for the next coronation in ‘about 25 years’.

Hammond said: ‘It’s really heavy, I can feel it straight away, on the shoulders and in the body. You can feel it in your body.’ And O’Leary added: ‘Penny Mordaunt, you must have been doing a bit of training for that, feeling the burn already. Good stuff.’ 

Penny Mordaunt speaks about her Coronation role while appearing on This Morning today

This Morning presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond try to carry the Sword of State

Penny Mordaunt spoke on This Morning today about the Poundland meme regarding her outfit

Penny Mordaunt speaks with This Morning hosts Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond today

The sword was brought onto the set today by Prince Philip’s close friend Gyles Brandreth

During the programme, Ms Mordaunt was asked about the design of her outfit, and said: ‘Well, what my predecessor would have worn, and he’d have been a fella, he would have been wearing the Court Dress of the Privy Council which I didn’t think was appropriate for me to wear in what was a modern Coronation. 

READ MORE 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 

‘So the bling you saw on the dress was actually the motif of the Privy Council. And so we took that and put it on the dress.

She continued: ‘I had a lot of help, lots of good advice, and even people who weren’t directly involved with making the dress and doing the embroidery, the people over at the Privy Council office who got out all the old uniforms and helped me get some ideas together.’

Ms Mordaunt was also asked about the various memes on social media about her role, including one comparing her outfit to the Poundland logo.

She told This Morning: ‘This is what I love about the great British public. We were waiting for the kebab, the lightsaber, all of that – they did not disappoint. There’s been some absolute classics.’

Speaking about the day, she said: ‘I was one of millions, I obviously got a lot of attention, but there were so many people doing amazing, amazing work behind the scenes – it was just an amazing event.’

Ms Mordaunt was also asked whether she knew what her role would be at the Coronation when she took over as Lord President of the Council last September.

She said: ‘Of course no, I didn’t know, and in fact it was the very week we lost Her Majesty The Queen that I actually got this job. Of course none of this was known.’

Speaking about her reaction to finding out what she would have to do, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I gradually became aware of what the role entailed and it was an amazing privilege to do it. It was difficult but I think what kept us all going was the people that were with us.

Lord President of the Council, Penny Mordaunt, carries the Sword of State on Saturday

Penny Mordant is seen during the Coronation of Charles III at Westminster Abbey on Saturday

‘There were three guys behind me also with swords, who got no attention at all, three former defence chiefs, and we just all looked after each other and managed to deliver on the day.’

READ MORE How to get Penny Mordaunt’s sword bearing arms in seven steps (without having to go to the gym) 

She also spoke about her training, and said the ‘real challenge was holding it during rehearsals – that was holding it for much longer because we were obviously working out what we were going to do with particular things’.

Ms Mordaunt continued: ‘I was a bit sore the following day. But General Gordon Messenger who was carrying the Crown, I think his uniform weighed about the same as the sword. So everyone was working hard on the day and pulling out all the stops.

‘And we need to get this in perspective – I met a police officer who’d been standing for 13 hours. 51 minutes – it’s not too much.’

She also revealed that she drew on her drill training for the Royal Navy Reserve, adding: ‘The important thing is just to keep your circulation going, wiggling your toes and that sort of thing, and I obviously wanted to see what was happening around me as well so I was focusing on what was happening in the service.’

And asked about her hair and makeup, she said: ‘A big shout-out to Kelly and Jackie who are the hairdressers in the House of Commons and helped everyone get ready.’

Earlier this week, Ms Mordaunt told BBC broadcaster Nick Robinson on his Political Thinking podcast that she took ‘a couple of painkillers’ before playing her part in the Coronation – and was ‘not in the gym for six months’ before the event.

Penny Mordaunt carries the Sword of State during the Coronation at Westminster Abbey

Penny Mordaunt presents the Sword of State to King Charles III at Westminster Abbey

She told the podcast: ‘I think you want to make sure you’re in good nick and I did take a couple of painkillers beforehand just to make sure I was going to be all right.

READ MORE Penny Mordaunt gets back to the day job: MP returns to business at the Cabinet Office after winning plaudits for her show-stealing Coronation role 

‘We got through it and it was only half of the ceremony I had to carry the Sword of State, which is the really heavy one, and then I traded it in for the very exquisite Jewelled Sword of Offering, which is much lighter.’

Ms Mordaunt also offered tips for anyone hoping to emulate her achievement.

She said: ‘I think it’s practice, like anything you’re preparing for, don’t leave anything to chance. Have a good breakfast, wear comfortable shoes.

‘I had a great team with me because the chaps who haven’t got any plaudits at all, the former defence chiefs who were standing behind me with the other swords in the ceremony, we were all there supporting each other and we’d obviously been talking under our breath at each other during rehearsals, keeping each other going.’

Ms Mordaunt, the Leader of the House of Commons and a 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-lys emblems.

Ms Mordaunt later exchanged the Sword of State for the Jewelled Sword of Offering and delivered it to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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

Penny Mordaunt holds the Swords of State at the Coronation ceremony of King Charles III 

It was then placed on the altar and redeemed with ‘redemption money’ by Ms Mordaunt.

READ MORE Has sword carrier Penny Mordaunt made herself a Tory leadership contender once again? Bookies bump up Commons Leader to second favourite to replace Rishi Sunak after show-stealing Coronation performance 

The sword was later drawn from its scabbard and she carried it in its ‘naked’ form before the King for the rest of the service.

And, 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.

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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