HM Queen Elizabeth II marks Maundy Thursday

  April 9, 2009 at 10:11 am by

The Queen at the Royal Maundy Service, April 2009

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Her Majesty The Queen today took part in one of the oldest of Royal ceremonies. The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, attended the Office of the Royal Maundy at St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. During the service Her Majesty distributed specially minted Maundy Money to 83 men and 83 women (83 being the years of The Queen’s age).These silver coins are gifts to the “poor” of the Dioceses as Her Majesty’s observance of Christ’s final meal when he washed his disciples feet. The Queen comes to the people and it is an act of humility by The Sovereign before God.

The Tradition dates back to the 1st Century A.D. and the English Crown has observed the practice of feet washing on Maundy Thursday for over 500 years. The Queen now hands out alms in place of washing her subjects’ feet.

Last year I was present in St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh when The Queen distributed the Maundy Money. The Hymns included the traditional Maundy Thursday Hymn: Praise to the Holiest in The Height, which is used every year in this special service. The service concludes with two verses of the National Anthem and the benediction.

The Maundy Service is one of The Queen’s annual duties which Her Majesty really does seem to enjoy and she always has a lovely smile for each of the recipients.

The recipients of the Maundy Money are no longer really the poor, but are men and women of all denominations who do work for their Church over many years. This is The Queen’s way of saying “thank you” for all the hard work they put into Church life over the years.

For more information about the Maundy Service, see this thread.

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