The Queen took part in one of the most ancient rituals of the Monarchy today in the city of York, when she handed out symbolic purses of money to 86 women and 86 men—one for each of the Queen’s 86 years—to celebrate Easter. of was on her way to York Minster for the traditional Royal Maundy service.
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.
The royal party arrived at York Minster in bright sunshine cheered on by thousands of well-wishers.
The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice of York.
Each recipient receives two purses—one red and one white—in the centuries old tradition.
The red purse will contain a £5 coin commemorating The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and a newly minted 50p coin.
The white purse will contain uniquely minted “Maundy Money” of silver one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which equals the Queen’s age.
The invited guests in the Minster strained to get a glimpse of the royal party and the distribution of the Maundy gifts during the hour-long service.