How heavy is the coronation sword? Penny Mordaunt ‘took painkillers’ before carrying relic
Petty Officer Amy Taylor became the first woman to undertake the duty of carrying the Jewelled Sword of Offering
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Penny Mordaunt has said she took painkillers before carrying the ceremonial swords during the coronation.
The Lord President of the Council was one of the breakout stars of the event at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 May, with many comparing her spotlight stealing role to that of Pippa Middleton during the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 2011. She was the first woman to present The Jewelled Sword of Offering to the monarch.
BBC News reports that the Portsmouth North MP told Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking podcast: “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 alright.”
The sword was blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and presented to the King by Lord President of the Council Penny Mordaunt during the coronation on Saturday, 6 May at Westminster Abbey. It was first used for the crowning of George IV in 1821.
The sword had been carried into the Westminster Abbey by Petty Officer Amy Taylor, who became the first woman to undertake the duty of carrying the sword into the Abbey after being selected to represent service men and women as a tribute to the King’s military career. The sword was placed in the King’s right hand, then clipped onto his girdle and eventually unclipped.
The King then stepped forward and offered the sword to the Dean, who placed it on the altar. The sword was then “redeemed” by Mordaunt, who placed the redemption money on an alms dish, held by the Dean, before drawing the sword and carrying it in its naked form, without its scabbard.
How heavy is the sword?
The exact weight of the blade is not known but it contains a large number of diamonds and other precious stones. It is not for the faint of heart to attempt to carry.
What is the Sword of Offering made from?
The gilded leather sheath is encrusted with 1,251 diamonds, 16 rubies, 2 sapphires and 2 turquoises. The sword has a Damascus steel blade and its handle is set with 2,141 diamonds, 12 emeralds and 4 rubies.
The leather scabbard is entirely encased in sheet gold and lined in red silk velvet. The scabbard is chased with roses, thistles and shamrocks, set with dimaonds, rubies and emeralds, with a similar chased design on the reverse, on a matted ground; the mouth-locket is mounted with sapphires and a ruby. The chape is decorated with diamond oak-leaf sprays with emerald acorns and a large turquoise on each side.
What is the sword for?
On the Royal Collections website it explains: “The Sword of Offering is one of the objects with which the sovereign is invested during the coronation ceremony. This takes place after the anointing, when the sovereign is then robed and presented with a number of symbolic ornaments.
“Many of these relate to knightly virtues. The Archbishop blesses the sword and then delivers it to the monarch with the injunction that it should be used for the protection of good and the punishment of evil. The sword is then offered on the altar. After the investiture the sovereign is then crowned.”
The website continues: “The design of the sword was suggested by George IV himself, and it was paid for out of the King’s privy purse. It was used as a Sword of Offering in his coronation ceremony in 1821. By tradition the Sword of Offering was retained by the sovereign after the coronation, and this example was not reused at a coronation ceremony until 1902 when it was used by Edward VII, and it was at this date that it joined the regalia in the Tower of London. It has been used as the Sword of Offering at every subsequent coronation.”
What has Penny Mordaunt said?
Following the coronation, the Portsmouth North MP said said she was “honoured” to have been part of the event.
She said: “I’m very aware that our armed forces, police officers and others have been marching or standing for hours as part of the ceremony or to keep us all safe. In comparison, my job was rather easier. Huge and heartfelt thanks to all who made this so remarkable. I’m so proud of you all and the King and Queen today.”