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What happened on Maundy Thursday and is the Queen holding her annual service?


The Queen during Maundy Thursday service
The Queen holds a special service every year (Picture: Steve Parsons/Getty)

Christians around the world will today be marking Maundy Thursday as the Holy Week continues.

In the run-up to the Easter weekend, members of the faith will observe the important day which falls on the Thursday ahead of Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

As has been tradition for a number of years, the Queen hosts her own annual Maundy Thursday service which sees her donate to individuals and churches and local communities across the country.

However the coronavirus outbreak and national lockdown has forced some changes to these practices.

Here’s what you need to know about Maundy Thursday and the Queen’s service this year.

What is Maundy Thursday?

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples, the evening before he was crucified.

At the Passover, he is said to have washed the feet of his followers in a display of humility, urging them to love one another as he has them.


The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The Last Supper by Leonardi da Vinci depicts the final meal between Jesus and his disciples (Picture: Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty)

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus said: ‘If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

‘For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

The word Maundy derives from the Latin word mandate which means commands, with Jesus 

Is the Queen holding her annual Maundy Thursday service?

The Queen hosts a special service every year which sees her travel to a different church in the UK and distribute Maundy money.

However with the UK on a nationwide lockdown amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the traditional Maundy money and a letter from the royal will be delivered to all 188 recipients by Royal Mail.

Recipients of Maundy money are given two leather purses, one red and one white; the first contains an ordinary amount of coinage which symbolises the Queen’s gift for food and clothing, and the second contains Maundy coins to the value of her age.

The recipients change every year, in accordance to where the Queen is visiting, and the money is awarded to individuals who have made a difference to churches and communities in their town.


Queen outside St George's Chapel on Maundy Thursday
The Queen travels to a different church in the UK every year (Picture: Steve Parsons/Getty)

The coins are considered legal tender however many recipients prefer to keep them as a memento.

Early on in her reign, she decided the donation should not just be distributed to people in London and the service should be held nationwide.

The royal visited St George’s Chapel in Windsor last year, bestowing Maundy money on 93 men and 93 women to mark her 93rd birthday in the following days.

This year’s service was set to take place there again, however all invitees will be welcomed at next year’s service instead.

MORE: Is coronavirus lockdown still ending on Easter Monday?

MORE: Will Easter eggs be limited to one per person as supermarkets impose restrictions amid coronavirus outbreak?

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Written by Angle News

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