Queen Elizabeth II marked holy Thursday by offering Maundy money to pensioners, according to Daily Mail. Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is the day before Good Friday during Easter, it commemorates the Last Supper as told in the Bible. As part of a traditional royal service at Windsor Castle, the Queen marked Maundy Thursday by giving commemorative coins to pensioners, according to BBC. Ninety-two women and 92 men were given the coins placed in two purses by the Queen. The coins were given in recognition of their service to the church and community, according to the report. The event dates back to the 13th century, when King John distributed gifts of clothes and money to the poor in Knaresborough in 1210. John was the first to present the poor with silver coins in Rochester in 1213.
However, it was his grandson Edward I, known as “the Hammer of the Scots,” who confined the tradition to Maundy Thursday alone. The tradition evolved into a ceremony in 1363 during Edward III’s reign, monarch’s began giving money equivalent to their age in years. According to Daily Mail, Mary I in 1556 washed the feet of 41 poor women and spent the entire ceremony on her knees. Some monarchs were less enthusiastic about the ceremony; Charles I rarely participated in the event, according to the report.
The service was held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on Thursday, March 29. The Queen marked Maundy by giving alms to senior citizens recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations for their service to the church and the community. The money was given to the senior citizens in two purses with distinctive red and white colors. The red purse contained a £5 coin, commemorating four generations of royalty and a 50p coin to mark the Representation of the People Act 1918 that gave some women the right to vote. The white purse contained the specially minted Maundy money; one, two, three and four silver penny pieces which add up to 92, marking the monarch’s age.
The sum of £5.50 contained in the red purse historically symbolizes £3 for clothing, £1.50 for provisions and £1 for the monarch’s gown which used to be divided among the recipients of the Maundy money. The Maundy money was minted in 2018, and it bears the portrait of the Queen wearing a wreath on her head. Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband, was absent from the ceremony. A spokeswoman said: “The order of service was printed some weeks ago when it was hoped the duke would be able to take part. His Royal Highness has since decided not to attend.” The Duke of Edinburgh, 96, retired from royal duties in May 2017 but remains the patron of hundreds of organisations.