Thursday, 5 April 2012

Maundy Thursday

Her Majesty The Queen received a rapturous welcome in York today as she prepared to hand out the traditional Royal Maundy money to pensioners from all over the Kingdom to mark her Diamond Jubilee. 

Thousands of well-wishers lined Queen Street and Micklegate and cheered loudly as Her Majesty, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Princess Beatrice of York stepped out of the royal car.

HM was given the time-honoured monarch's welcome to the city in a medieval atmosphere conjured up by traditional musicians and musketeers.

She met the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor, David Horton, and the town clerk, Kersten England, read out a proclamation of welcome.

HM was on her way to York Minster for the traditional Royal Maundy service. To celebrate her 60 years as Sovereign, the Queen will hand out money to people from all of the UK's 44 Christian dioceses.

Usually, the Maundy money is given to pensioners from one diocese each year. But this year, 86 women and 86 men - one for each of the Queen's 86 years - will receive the money in recognition of their services to the Church and their communities.

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 royal procession included the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Dr John Sentamu; the Lord High Almoner, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch (Bishop of Manchester); the chancellor of the diocese of York, His Honour Judge Collier QC; the Dean of York, the Very Rev Keith Jones; and other dignitaries and officials.

A short time later the Queen began distributing the Maundy gifts to the first set of recipients on the south side of the Minster as the Yeomen of the Guard followed closely behind.

After the second lesson was read by the Archbishop of York, the Queen distributed the Maundy gifts to the second set of recipients on the north side of the cathedral as music by Handel was played.
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.

Following the prayers and singing of the national anthem, the processions moved through the Minster to exit as music by Bach was played.

The royal party was greeted with rapturous applause and cheering as they emerged on to the steps of the Minster.

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