Penny Mordaunt had to undergo gruelling training regime before ‘stealing the show’ at coronation
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Penny Mordaunt had to go through a tough training regime before taking her place in the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday (6 May).
The Tory politician drew the eyes of many people by standing around holding a massive sword during the ceremony, with many pointing out that she had to hold that big – and presumably heavy – sword for ages.
It requires a fair bit of strength, but she pulled it off in the end.
It was a historic moment, if a little strange, as it’s the first time that a woman has performed this role in a coronation ceremony.
Mordaunt was involved in the royal event because she’s the Lord President of the Council and therefore responsible for carrying – bearing, if you will – the Sword of State, as well as presenting the Jewelled Sword of Offering for the King.
Honestly, it’s all pretty bizarre isn’t it?
Mordaunt, who is also the Leader of the House of Commons, said that in preparation for her role she’d been doing press-ups and using weighted replicas in rehearsals, to make sure that she had the arm strength to keep the sword aloft throughout.
What’s more, Mordaunt credited her time as a Royal Navy Reservist for preparing her for standing around for ages without fainting – although, some still do.
Explaining her role on The Times’s Red Box Politics podcast, Mordaunt said: "The Lord President of the Council is really the chairman of the King's Privy Council.
"It used to be the executive for the King, and it still does a lot of business and it's an important part of our constitution and the authority that we have in Parliament.
"On the day I am representing the King's authority, and I am going to be doing a number of things.
"One of them will be carrying the Sword of State which is the heaviest sword so I've been doing some press-ups to train for that.
"It has to be carried at right angles to the body, hence the need to do press-ups.
"It's pointing upwards, holding out in front of you, for some time."
Mordaunt continued: "We get to practise with some replicas which are weighted."
There’s a set of exercises that you can perform if you want to replicate the sort of thing Mordaunt was probably talking about, called the 5BX – five basic exercises - fitness routine.
It includes press-ups, sit-ups, back extensions, stretching, and running on the spot.
It’s something that both King Charles and Prince Philip talked about as helping them keep fit during their lives.
Her appearance in the ceremony did capture the public attention, with Labour MP Emily Thornberry tweeting: "Got to say it, Penny Mordaunt looks damn fine! The sword bearer steals the show."
Financial boffin Martin Lewis also said: "Is Penny Mordant the new Pippa Middleton?
“She has stolen the show!"
TV presenter Dan Walker added: "What a shift from Penny Mordaunt.
“Get her in the Olympics."