Penny Mordaunt, King Charles III
Penny Mordaunt served as sword bearer during King Charles III's coronation service in Westminster Abbey on May 6, 2023. Twitter/Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt revealed that she came prepared when she took on the heavy task of carrying the 8-pound Sword of State during King Charles III's coronation on May 6.

The 50-year-old Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council had the honour of carrying the ceremonial sword during the procession to Westminster Abbey. She looked back at the experience during an interview on the BBC with "Political Thinking" host Nick Robinson. He asked, "So how much pumping iron was there before you picked up that sword?"

She chuckled at the idea that she spent some time at the gym ahead of the coronation and said, "This story has developed and it's run away with itself. I was not in the gym for six months prior to this."

"Six weeks? Six days?" Robinson pressed and Mordaunt replied, "You want to make sure you are in good nick."

Laughing, the politician added, "I did take a couple of painkillers beforehand, just to make sure I was gonna be alright. But it's fine, it's all good, we got through it. And it's only half 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."

The Conservative MP for Portsmouth North shared that her training in the navy also helped her know how to keep her circulation going by "wriggling her toes." She also recommended to anyone tasked with a similar duty in the future to "practice," "have a good breakfast" and "wear comfortable shoes."

Mordaunt also told BBC Radio Solent that the Sword of State was "very heavy" but thankfully she was "able to handle" its weight. She also shared that she prepared for the task by "doing some press-ups."

She performed the ceremonial exchange of swords and handed the Sword of State to King Charles III, who swapped it for the Jewelled Sword of Offering. The second artefact comes encrusted with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies on the hilt.

King Charles III was handed The Jewelled Sword Offering "with the injunction that it should be used for the protection of good and the punishment of evil," according to the Royal Collection Trust. Mordaunt reacquired the artefact from His Majesty in exchange for 100 freshly minted 50-pence coins and then she led the monarch out of the abbey carrying the unsheathed weapon.

The Sword of State and Sword of Offering were two of the four swords used during the coronation. Mordaunt notably became the first woman to carry and represent them and she called it a "huge privilege."

She also reacted to becoming a social media hit after the ceremony saying she
found out she "had become a meme" after she checked her phone. She saw photoshopped images of the sword replaced by a kebab and more. In response, she said, "Well done to the Great British public."

Over at Twitter, netizens praised her poise while carrying the heavy Sword of State. One wrote, "well done @PennyMordaunt. You did a fantastic job carrying the sword, and your outfit was fantastic too. You did king and country proud."

A second commented, "Penny I saw you in the entire coronation ceremony, you were terrific. I can't believe you managed to stay stand the whole ceremony. You developed your paper just wonderfully" and a third wrote, "I could not think of anybody more fitting for the role of sword bearer. You played your part well."

She also shared in a tweet that she was "honoured to be part of the coronation along with thousands of others who played their part." Mordaunt made light of being the sword bearer during King Charles III's coronation as she praised the "armed forces, police officers, and others" who "have been marching or standing for hours as part of the ceremony" or to keep everyone safe. She said in comparison her "job was rather easier."