Continuing a centuries-old Christian tradition, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated Holy Thursday by handing out coins in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle during the annual Royal Maundy service.
Red and white purses were presented to 92 men and 92 women who were chosen in recognition of their service to the Church and the community.
Each red purse held a 2018 UK £5 coin, celebrating four generations of royalty, and a 2018 UK 50p coin commemorating the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave some women the right to vote for the first time.
Every white purse contained specially struck Maundy coins with their face values adding up to 92 pence — the Queen’s age later this month.
All the coins were struck by Britain’s 1100-year old Royal Mint.
Royal Maundy can be traced back in England to the thirteenth century. Edward I (1274 to 1307) started the traditional Maundy Thursday act of giving alms to the poor. Some of the specifics of the tradition have changed, but it still involves individuals receiving gifts from the monarch. In more recent times, the number of recipients has changed annually to match the monarch’s age.
Maundy coins bear Mary Gillick’s effigy of the Queen, as appeared on the first coins of her reign in 1943. They differ from standard circulating coins like those produced now with the fifth definitive portraits of the monarch.
To ready more about the unique Maundy money, visit this Royal Mint webpage.