Maundy Money: A Royal Tradition

Maundy Money is a British tradition that dates back to AD 600. It is an annual event where the reigning monarch distributes specially minted coins to people who have shown exceptional service to the church and community. The ceremony takes place each year on the Thursday before Easter Sunday, and this year, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will be distributing the coins at York Minster. This article will explore the history and significance of Maundy Money, the process of selecting recipients, and the royal couple’s visit to the Minster, as well as the opening of the new Refectory Restaurant.

History and Significance of Maundy Money

The tradition of Maundy Money has been observed in England for over a thousand years. It began as a religious ceremony, with the monarch washing the feet of the poor as a symbol of humility and service. Over time, the foot-washing element was replaced with the distribution of specially minted coins to pensioners. These coins were called “Maundy money” because they were distributed on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday.

The coins themselves are highly sought-after by collectors because they are only minted for the Maundy Thursday ceremony. They are unique because they are never put into circulation, making them rare and valuable. The tradition of Maundy Money has continued to this day, and the ceremony is an important part of the British monarchy’s calendar.

Maundy Money: A Royal Tradition
Maundy Money: A Royal Tradition

Selecting Recipients

The process of selecting recipients for Maundy Money is a rigorous one. Each year, one man and one woman are chosen for each year the monarch has lived, with the selection process overseen by the Royal Almoner. The recipients are chosen based on their outstanding service to the church and community, and they must be over 70 years old.

The recipients are invited to attend the ceremony at the chosen location, where they receive their Maundy money from the monarch. The coins are presented in a white purse, which contains silver coins equal in value to the monarch’s age, and a red purse, which contains two commemorative coins.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla at York Minster

This year’s Maundy Money ceremony will take place at York Minster, where King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will be in attendance. The royal couple will be met at the Great West Doors of the cathedral by the Archbishop of York and the Dean of York.

Before the service begins, the King and Queen Consort will be presented with a traditional small flower bouquet. During the service, the King will distribute Maundy money to the selected recipients. The white purse will contain silver coins equivalent in value to the King’s age, while the red purse will contain two commemorative coins.

The ceremony will conclude with the national anthem and a blessing. In addition to the Maundy Money ceremony, the royal couple will also be formally opening the Minster’s new Refectory Restaurant.

The Refectory Restaurant

The Refectory Restaurant is located on the site of the former Minster School and is a Grade II listed building. The school was closed in 2020 due to a loss of income, and plans were put in place to turn the building into a cafe and restaurant. The new venue will be overseen by chef Andrew Pern, who also runs the Star Inn in Harome, North Yorkshire, and the Star Inn the City in York.

The opening of the Refectory Restaurant is a significant event for the Minster, as it provides a new space for visitors to relax and enjoy refreshments. The royal couple will unveil a plaque at the restaurant to mark the occasion, and they will be among the first to sample the new menu.

Conclusion

Maundy money is a tradition that has been celebrated for centuries, and it is a great honor to be recognized and awarded specially minted coins by the monarch. The royal couple’s visit to York Minster and the award ceremony is a significant event, and it highlights the importance of community service and dedication to the church. The Maundy Money ceremony is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the importance of charity and giving back to the community. It is also a reminder of the rich history and traditions of the UK.

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FAQs:

  1. What is Maundy money?

Maundy money is a tradition in the UK where the monarch gives specially minted coins to people in recognition of their work in the church and community.

  1. What is the significance of the Maundy money ceremony?

The Maundy money ceremony highlights the importance of community service and dedication to the church. It is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of charity and giving back to the community.

  1. When did the tradition of Maundy money start?

The tradition of Maundy money dates back to AD 600 when the first recorded distribution of Maundy money took place at Knaresborough in North Yorkshire by King John in 1210.

  1. How many times has the Maundy money ceremony been held at York Minster?

The Maundy money ceremony has been held at York Minster on two previous occasions by the late Queen Elizabeth II on 5 April 2012 and 30 March 1972.

  1. What will the royal couple do during their visit to York Minster?

During their visit to York Minster, the royal couple will hand out Maundy money, unveil a plaque at the Refectory Restaurant, and be presented with a traditional small flower bouquet before the service begins.

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