Royal Family: The Queen is Handing Out Money Today. Here’s Why

If you’ve ever looked at the riches of the royal family and wanted a little piece of the pie, then today was your chance to finally make that dream come true.

Today is Maundy Thursday and as such, Queen Elizabeth II gave out coins to 93 men and 93 women at the Maundy Thursday church service.

What is Maundy Thursday?

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. The day is celebrated to commemorate the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples before dying on Good Friday.

The ceremony for the holiday comes from the commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” which is why the day usually involves handing out food and giving back to others.

The first Maundy money ceremony was under the reign of Charles II in 1662. The King gave out undated hammered coins. The coins were a four penny, three penny, two penny, and one penny piece. In 1670, he began to hand out dated coins.

“It seems to have been the custom as early as the thirteenth century for members of the royal family to take part in Maundy ceremonies, to distribute money and gifts, and to recall Christ’s simple act of humility by washing the feet of the poor,” according to the Royal Mint.

How did the Queen celebrate Maundy Thursday?

The royal family has been participating in Maundy Thursday services since the 13th century.

“The tradition of the king or queen washing the feet of the poor faded out in the eighteenth century, but the monarch still gave people food and clothing,” the Royal Mint’s website reads. “By the nineteenth century the tradition had changed again, and the monarch simply gave people the Maundy money.”

This year, the Queen gave out purses to 93 men and women in reference to her 93rd birthday that she will be celebrating on Easter.

The queen arrived at St. George’s Chapel with her granddaughter, Princess Eugenie. When they arrived, they were given nosegays, which are said to fend off unpleasant smells.

Typically, other royals besides Prince Philip don’t join the queen for the services. The only other royal who has joined Her Majesty was Princess Beatrice in 2012.

What was inside the purses?

The Queen gave out two purses to those chosen, one red and one white. Inside the red purse was a £5 coin that commemorated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. It also contained a 50p coin that showed Sherlock Holmes.

The white purse contained Maundy money, which consisted of four silver penny pieces.

“The money in the White Purse includes 1, 2, 3 and 4 silver penny pieces, the sum equals the number of years of the Monarch’s age,” the royal family’s Twitter account wrote. “This year the purse will equal 93p as Her Majesty turns 93 on Sunday!”

How were the recipients chosen?

You’re probably wondering how you can be chosen to participate in one of these Maundy Thursday ceremonies.

The recipients of this year’s purses were chosen because of their service to their church and local communities.

“The Queen commemorates Maundy by offering ‘alms’ to senior citizens – retired pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of their service to the church and to the local community,” the Twitter account reads. 

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