Giving Back

03.28.13

Queen Hands Out Maundy Money

Ceremony honouring pensioners dates back centuries

The Queen appeared to be back in full health as she performed one of the most ancient ceremonies of the monarchy - presenting the so-called 'Maundy Money' to pensioners deemed to have contributed in outstanding ways to their communities.

Today, the Thursday before Easter, is known as 'Maundy Thursday' in the Christian calendar, and the Maundy Service, which was held in the city of Oxford, dates back to the 13th century, and echoes the story of Christ washing the feet of his disciples shortly before his death.

The king or queen originally washed the feet of those who received  'Maundy Money' but foot-washing ended with James II in the 18th century.

Joined by Princess Beatrice and the Duke of Edinburgh, she distributed the traditional red and white purses of money to 87 women and 87 men - as she is now in her 87th year.

The red purse contains a specially minted £5 coin and 50p coin commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation in 1953.

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Princess Beatrice of York. (Arthur Edwards/AFP/Getty)

The white purse carries the Maundy money, special silver 1 pence, 2 pence, 3 pence and 4 pence pieces - equal to 87 pence, again marking her 87th year.

The recipients were retired pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of service to the Church and the community in the diocese of Oxford.