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British Royals

The historic first Maundy coins of King Charles III

They were real pieces of history, The first Maundy coins to bear the image of King Charles III were handed out at a special service at York Minster where His Majesty distributed them in a tradition that stretches back centuries.

The King handed out the first Maundy money to bear his image to 74 men and 74 women in April 2023. The number of recipients reflected his age at the time of the ceremony. They were each given a red purse, containing a special £5 coin and 50p piece, and a white purse, filled with specially minted coins to the value of 74 pence, one penny for each year of King Charles III’s age at the time.

The Royal Mint

The first Maundy money of the new reign was unveiled just hours before it is distributed.

King Charles, accompanied by Queen Camilla, handed out the coins in York in a ceremony led by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.

The Maundy service draws inspiration from the events of the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Kings and queens used to wash the feet of the poor and distribute alms to them. The tradition of feet washing disappeared in the 18th century but the giving of money remains.

The Royal Mint

Since the reign of Henry IV, in the early 15th century, English monarchs have presented Maundy coins to a number of people that matches their age. In the reign of King Charles II, specially minted money was first created and that tradition continues today.

Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint said at the time of the first Maundy service for Charles III’s reign that ”The Royal Mint has struck every single coin, known as Maundy Money, for each ceremony since the reign of Charles II. Following Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Maundy coins will see His Majesty King Charles III’s official coin portrait appear on them for the very first time. This will the first time King Charles III will be issuing his own Maundy Money marking a significant moment in history.

King Charles will miss the 2024 Maundy service as he continues treatment for cancer. Queen Camilla will present the coins on his behalf in a ceremony at Worcester Cathedral on March 28th 2024.

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.