While King Charles III probably expected himself to be the star of his own coronation, another attendee has become one of the most talked-about people from the day.
Tory Cabinet member Penny Mordaunt, 50, stole the show as the sword-bearer during the King’s coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
Her appearance sparked hundreds of conversations on social media, with people saying that she stole the show, and that her appearance was akin to Pippa Middleton’s at the Prince and Princess of Wales’ wedding in 2011.
So, why is everyone talking about Penny Mordaunt, and what was her role in the King’s coronation exactly?
Penny Mordaunt's coronation appearance: What you need to know in nine points
Penny Mordaunt is the leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the King's Privy Council. During the King’s coronation she became the first-ever woman to carry the 17th-century Sword of State into Westminster Abbey.
During the coronation, Mordaunt was given the Jewelled Sword of Offering which symbolises royal power and is blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. She then presented it to the King. At the end of the ceremony, Mordaunt held the sword and led the King out of the Abbey.
Social media users have praised both Mordaunt’s poise and her outfit. The cabinet members wore a teal dress with gold fern details which was custom-made by designer Safiyaa. The embroidery was a nod to the dress usually worn by privy council members.
Some said Mordaunt stole the show. “Penny Mordaunt's sword is the ‘Pippa Middleton's Bum’ of the Coronation,” writer and Times columnist, Caitlin Moran tweeted. Author Elizabeth Day joked: “An historic moment witnessing the coronation of Penny Mordaunt today.”
Correction: Penny Mordaunt's sword is the "Pippa Middleton's Bum" of the Coronation.
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) May 6, 2023
Others commented that her outfit looks straight from dystopian fiction. Some users said her teal cape dress looked as if it were from Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games. Others thought it looked more like work attire. “Olympic Air’s stewardess of the Year 2003.” @RossJCobb joked.
Some took the opportunity to turn Mordaunt into a meme. “When Charles dies, Penny Mordaunt has to fight Kate Bush to see which one becomes queen. Sorry, I don't make the rules,” @emlynsshoes tweeted.
When Charles dies, Penny Mordaunt has to fight Kate Bush to see which one becomes queen. Sorry, I don't make the rules. pic.twitter.com/z6JRlmyhvE
— Emlyn's Shoes (@emlynsshoes) May 6, 2023
Mordaunt was praised for holding the 8lb sword throughout the ceremony. Ahead of the coronation, Mordaunt revealed that she had been doing “press-ups” in order to prepare for the coronation.
Some even began murmurs that Mordaunt could one day make a “good PM”. “Penny Mordaunt has done extraordinarily well holding a sword for all that time. What a privilege for her and exceptionally well done. Surely a future PM?” @chrisgolds wrote.
Mordaunt later commented on her involvement in the coronation. “Honoured to be part of the #coronation with thousands of others who played their part,” she tweeted. “I'm very aware that our armed forces, police officers & 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.”