One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The sword carried in front of a sovereign on state occasions.
- ‘Two swords of justice and a sword of mercy date from the early 17th cent.: a fourth sword, the sword of state, was made in 1678.’
- ‘The roof is ornamented with three cherubs, representing England, Scotland and Ireland, supporting the royal crown and holding the sceptre, sword of state and ensign of knighthood.’
- ‘She first greeted the Lord Mayor, Alderman Eric Keld, who surrendered the city's sword of state to her in accordance with tradition.’
- ‘Of the swords of state borne before the Queen, the chief, Curtana - the short, blunt sword of mercy - was carried by the Earl of Derby, who had carried it at Mary's coronation.’
- ‘It was no prince's plaything, no sword of state.’
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