Today, celebrating Holy Thursday also known as Maundy Thursday, an annual tradition continued as Queen Elizabeth II handed purses of coins to 178 pensioners.
This year’s ceremony, held at Sheffield Cathedral, was the first time the Maundy service happened in South Yorkshire in more than 900 years. It also marked the 60th time Her Majesty has participated in the annual tradition.
"We are deeply honored to be chosen to host the Royal Maundy Service on behalf of our nation," the Very Reverend Peter Bradley said earlier this year. "This service is a special opportunity to recognize individuals who have worked to make a positive contribution to the community."
Eighty-nine women and eighty-nine men received the alms in recognition of their work in their community. Churches from across South Yorkshire nominated the elderly pensioners. The number of recipients selected changes annually with the age of the Queen who will soon celebrate her 89th birthday.
Each person received two purses. A red purse holds a £5 coin commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill and a 50p coin marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Maundy coins filled a white purse with a value of 89 pence.
Maundy coins feature Mary Gillick’s portrait of the Queen, as prepared for the first coins of Her Majesty’s reign. They differ from standard circulating coins like those produced now with the fifth definitive portrait of the monarch. To ready more about the unique Maundy money, visit this Royal Mint webpage.
Since assuming the thrown in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has missed the Maundy Thursday event only four times.