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British Royals

King Charles distributes Maundy coins for the first time in his reign

King Charles III has continued a tradition stretching back centuries as he gave out Maundy money.

The King distributed specially minted coins at the Maundy service at York Minister.

Accompanied by Queen Camilla, His Majesty was greeted by large crowds on his arrival at the Minster. There was also a small, organised demonstration against the monarchy.

Inside the ancient church, King Charles followed dozens of British monarchs before him by handing out coins on Maundy Thursday.

The recipients were 74 men and 74 women, one for each year of The King’s age. They each received two purses. One, made of white leather, contains special coins to the value of 74 pence, again matching the Monarch’s age. The other, made of red leather, holds two commemorative coins.

Each recipient had been chosen for their work in their local church and community.

The Royal Mint

The distribution of royal gifts on Maundy Thursday goes back to at least the 13th century. Originally, the service also saw the monarch wash the feet of the poor, based on the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper when he washed the feet of his disciples. Money was also handed out. The tradition of feet washing ended in the 18th century but the distribution of coins remains.

King Charles has handed out Maundy money before, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, but this was the first time he had distributed the coins in his own reign.

The money was made by the Royal Mint.

After the service, King Charles and Queen Camilla were presented with traditional nosegay bouquets of spring flowers. They posed for photos with the clergy, including the Archbishop of York, before meeting some of the wellwishers who had cheered them in and out of the Minster.

King Charles and Queen Camilla are expected to spend Easter at Windsor Castle.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.