Royal Maundy Service

Every Maundy Thursday, the Monarch distributes special Maundy money to local pensioners in a service which commemorates Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper.

The King and Queen attend the Maundy Service

In 2024, The King was unable to attend, though he recorded a message which was played at the service, in which he read from the Gospel according to John (John 13.1 – 15) as well as thanking this Maundy Money recipients for their service. 

The 150 men and women who have been chosen today to receive the Maundy Money from my wife are wonderful examples of such kindness; of going way beyond the call of duty and of giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities.

The Queen distributed the Maundy Money on behalf of The King during this year's event which was held at Worcester Cathedral. 

The Royal Maundy Service 2024

When and where is the service?

The Maundy Service happens each year on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. The King's first Maundy Service as Monarch took place at York Minster in 2023. 

Royal Maundy Service 2023

Early in her reign, Queen Elizabeth II decided Maundy money should not just be distributed to the people of London, and so she began travelling to various cathedrals or abbeys to give gifts to local people. She visited every cathedral in the country over the course of her reign, a tradition which has been continued in the current King's reign. 

Queen Elizabeth II at a Royal Maundy Service

What is Maundy money?  

During the service, The Sovereign distributes gifts according to the number of years they have lived: for example, in 2023 The King presented 74 men and 74 women (signifying his age that year) with Maundy Money to thank them for their outstanding Christian service and for making a difference to the lives of people in their local communities. 

A pensioner with his Maundy money

The service dates back to 600AD and these special coins have kept much the same form since 1670. They still bear the portrait of Her Majesty designed for her coronation in 1953, even though the image on ordinary circulating coinage has since been changed four times. 

Each recipient of Maundy money is given two small leather purses by The King, one red and one white.

Maundy money

The first contains a small amount of ordinary coinage which symbolises the Sovereign's gift for food and clothing. The second purse contains Maundy coins up to the value of the Sovereign's age. The coins are legal tender but recipients normally prefer to retain them as a keepsake.