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Queen hands out commemorative Maundy coins

Maundy Thursday has been a long held custom for the royal family dating back to the 13th century. It is an ancient ceremony originating from when Christ gave his disciples the commandment after washing their feet after the Last Supper before Good Friday.

The Queen has celebrated this special day by distributing commemorative coins to 90 men and women, each representing a year of her life. The Royal Maundy service was held in Saint George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It is the first time the service has been held at St George’s Chapel since 1959.

The Duke of Edinburgh joined Her Majesty for the occasion.

The 180 recipients of the Maundy money are retired pensioners throughout the United Kingdom. This breaks with the usual tradition of selecting recipients from each of the different diocese.

The recipients are recommended for this honour for their service to the Church and their communities. Each person received two purses: one white and the other red. The red purse contains a £5 coin commemorating the Queen’s 90th birthday which is coming up next month with her actual birthday being on 21st April. It will also include a 50p coin representing the 950th anniversary of the battle of Hastings. On the other hand, the white purse will hold uniquely minted Maundy coins which will add up in pence to the Queen’s age.

Pamela Geoghegan, aged 73, is one of the recipients. She has worked to aid refugees in camps located in France by transporting supplies by truck and car. 84 year old Tim O’Donovan has, since 1979, authored the annual survey of Royal Family engagements that is published in The Times. Guests and recipients were moved to tears as the choir sang. The recipients deeply moved by their brief moment with the Queen.

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