The Queen has distributed Maundy money at a service at Windsor. The ceremony, which dates back centuries, took place this year at St. George’s Chapel with Princess Eugenie accompanying her grandmother for the day. Here are some of the best images of the Royal Maundy service for 2019.
British kings and queens have taken part in special ceremonies to mark Maundy Thursday since the earliest of royal times. The services take their inspiration from the acts of Jesus at the Last Supper and used to involve the Monarch washing the feet of the poor as well as distributing alms. Now, the Queen hands over commemorative coins to pensioners from all over the UK in recognition of their contribution to community and religious life in their area.
The tradition of handing out coins is thought to go back until at least 600AD. The coins the Queen used today can trace their design back to the reign of King Charles II.
The number of recipients and the number of coins they receive matches the Queen’s age that year. With just days to go until the Queen turns 93, that means there were 93 men and 93 women lined up for this special gift.
Each is given two purses. The white purse contains coins representing the alms of old, a regal gift meant to be spent on food and clothes. The total sum in pence matches the Queen’s age – today, recipients received 93p. The red purse contains special coins and this year included a £5 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria and a 50p featuring Sherlock Holmes.
The service is always held outside London and throughout her reign, the Queen has visited every cathedral in the UK to distribute Maundy money. The 2019 ceremony took place in Windsor where she is keeping her Easter court.
For the first time, Princess Eugenie accompanied her grandmother at the traditional service. Her sister, Princess Beatrice, has already taken part in the ceremony, joining the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh several years ago when they travelled to York for Maundy.
The royal guests were presented with nosegays, another tradition. This custom dates back to the time when the Monarch washed the feet of those being given alms – the flowers were a way to cover up any unpleasant smells. Now they are a pretty offering to special guests and this year’s posies contained daffodils, freesias and sweet smelling stocks as well as the ever fragrant herbs, thyme and rosemary.
The Queen’s attendance at the Royal Maundy service continues a long tradition and also marks the start of several Easter appearances for Her Majesty. She is expected to lead the whole Royal Family at Sunday when they attend Easter service at St. George’s Chapel.