04.17.14 12:32 PM ET
Queen Performs Ancient Duty of Maundy Money
The young royals might be getting all the headlines this week, but the Queen is today carrying out one of the most ancient rituals of the monarchy, handing out Maundy coins in a traditional royal service at Blackburn Cathedral.
Today is ‘Maundy Thursday’ in the Christian calendar, and the purses are known as ‘Maundy Money’.
The Royal Maundy ceremony traces its origins to the Last Supper when, as St John recorded, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
Eighty-eight men and 88 women aged over 70 are being presented with the coins in recognition of their work in the church and the community.
Thousands of people lined the streets for the Queen's first visit to Blackburn cathedral.
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Reverend Christopher Armstrong, said it was the biggest event it had hosted.
The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh as she distributed the traditional red and white purses of money to 88 women and 88 men - as she is now in her 88th year.
The purses carry the Maundy money, special silver 1 pence, 2 pence, 3 pence and 4 pence pieces - equal to 88 pence, again marking her 88th 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.