Queen Camilla represents King Charles III at this year’s Royal Maundy Service

Maundy Thursday is an Easter tradition dating back to 1622, when Charles II was the reigning monarch. The tradition usually involves the monarch gifting members of the public coins as part of a special ceremony, however this year will be a bit different…

King Charles III and Queen Camilla at York Minster Maundy Service 2023
Credit: The Royal Family on Twitter

On behalf of The King

The annual Royal Maundy Service will take place today at Worcester Cathedral, where Her Majesty The Queen will be distributing the Royal Maundy gifts on behalf of His Majesty The King.

Queen Camilla will be accompanied by Lord High Almoner, Bishop John as the gifts are presented. He said: “It is an honour to be able to welcome HM The Queen to Worcester. This is an immensely special service and I know it will mean a huge amount to those who have been chosen to receive the coins, all of whom will have given years of service to their local communities.”

This isn’t the first time the Maundy Service has been hosted by someone other than the reigning monarch. In 2022, King Charles (then Prince) represented Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Maundy Service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. It was believed to be only the fifth time during her reign that Queen Elizabeth II did not attend the service, including its cancellation due to Covid in 2020 and 2021.

Prince Charles attended the 2022 Royal Maundy Service in Windsor on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II
Credit: Jason Pix

What coins are awarded?

Ceremonial coins will be presented to 75 men and 75 women specially chosen in recognition of the service they have given to the Church and local community.

Each recipient will be gifted two small leather string purses – one white, one red. The red purse contains ordinary coinage as money (in lieu of the food and clothing that was offered years ago), and the white purse contains specially minted silver Maundy coins with a collective face value of 75p (representing The King’s age).

2023 Red Maundy Money Pouch
Credit: The Royal Family on Twitter

Last year, among the coins in the red purse were the 2023 King’s 75th Birthday £5 and the 2023 Windrush Generation 50p – both of which featured in the 2023 Annual Coin Set. Considering this, it’s possible that commemorative coins from the 2024 Annual Coin Set may be included in this year’s offerings.


The History of Royal Maundy

Maundy Thursday is a key day during the Easter week which commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper on the day before his crucifixion.

The Royal Maundy Church service takes place each year on this day, and is inspired by the generosity shown by Jesus in washing the feet of his disciples shortly before his death.

Jesus washing the feet of disciples.
Credit: Regina magazine

Its origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when English monarchs would wash the feet of beggars and offer gifts of food and clothing in imitation of Jesus.

However it was King John who was the first to give to the poor on Maundy Thursday and by the early 14th century, it had become customary for the sovereign to provide a meal, together with gifts of food and clothing.

Sharing the Wealth

For numismatists, the day has added significance in the form of Maundy money, which is given out by the reigning monarch each year at the service.

1985 Silver Maundy Coins
Credit: Wehwalt via Wikimedia Commons

The tradition of giving out money began with Charles II, with the first set of Maundy coins consisting of a four penny, three penny, two penny and a penny. The coins have remained in much the same form since then, and are traditionally struck in sterling silver.


Have you or anyone you know ever received Maundy Money for your services? Let us know in the comments below!


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4 Comments

  1. Tracey Ainsley on March 28, 2024 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve got some Maundy coins which were in my dad’s collection but I’ve no idea why or how they were given. Is there anyway to know who got them over the years and why?

    • Kate on April 8, 2024 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Tracey, that’s interesting that you’ve got some Maundy coins! Usually, recipients are nominated by their local clergymen for contributions to their local church and community, however I’m not aware of a database of previous recipients. You may be able to contact The Royal Family to see if they keep a record of past recipients.
      Kind regards, Kate

  2. Peter jones on March 28, 2024 at 12:27 pm

    Try 1662.

  3. Peter Jones on March 28, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    You say in your introduction that Maundy money was started in 1622 in the reign of King Charles II. Unfortunately, he wasn’t born until 1630. His grandfather, James I, was the king in 1622 (1603-1625) and Charles II became king at the Reformation in 1660 until his death in 1685.

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