Today’s crowning of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey attracted a mix of royalty, foreign leaders, and celebrities.

Penny Mordaunt, who twice failed to win the Conservative Party leadership and the prime ministership last year, lead the procession for King Charles III’s coronation into Westminster Abbey while carrying the sword of state, a significant constitutional symbol.

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As lord president of the privy council, a group of advisers to the monarch that comprises top elected officials and ceremonial officers, Mordaunt will carry the sword of state, which symbolizes the king’s power.

The sword is called the Jewelled Sword of Offering.

As she enters the Abbey in a procession that has been timed to the second in months of rehearsals, Mordaunt, who serves as the leader of the House of Commons by day, must hold the sword at a right angle to her body.

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She will hand the king the lighter sword of offering during the rite in return for the heavier sword of state. The king’s regalia is a collection of holy and worldly items, including his crown, that represent the duties of the monarch.

After then, she will “buy” the sword back from the Archbishop of Canterbury in yet another old pageant. Mordaunt has the opportunity to personalize the occasion because she is the first woman to carry out this duty during a coronation.

Who is Penny Mordaunt?

Since September 2022, British politician Mordaunt has served as Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons.

She joined the Conservative Party and has served as the Portsmouth North MP since May 2010.

After serving in Theresa May’s cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development from 2017 to 2019 and as Secretary of State for Defense from May to July 2019, she was a junior minister under Boris Johnson. In July–September and October 2022, she made two bids for the leadership of the Conservative Party, losing to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, respectively.

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Prior to entering the PR field, Mordaunt studied philosophy at the University of Reading. She worked for George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004 as well as holding positions within the Conservative Party under John Major and William Hague.

In May 2010, Mordaunt won a seat in the House of Commons. She held the position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Decentralization from 2014 to 2015 under David Cameron’s coalition government.

She was named Secretary of State for International Development in 2017 after Priti Patel resigned. From 2018 to 2019, she also held the position of Minister for Women and Equalities.

Mordaunt became the first woman to hold the position when she was appointed as Secretary of State for Defense in May 2019, taking Gavin Williamson’s place.

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She was named Minister of State for Trade Policy at the 2021 reorganization.

Mordaunt entered the race to succeed Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister but lost in the final round of voting among Conservative MPs and afterwards supported Truss. Johnson announced his resignation as party leader and prime minister in July 2022.

On October 20, 2022, Truss announced his resignation, and Mordaunt launched a second campaign to lead the Conservative Party and serve as Prime Minister. Mordaunt continued to serve as House of Commons leader while Sunak eventually kept her in his government.