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Sunday, 15 April 2018 08:10

altOn Maundy Thursday Uppingham resident Jill Cannings travelled to Windsor Castle to receive Maundy money from the Queen and she has written about her experience. She describes how, after taking her place in St George’s chapel, an array of people with amazing titles and costumes took theirs including the Yeomen of the Guard, the Military Knights of Windsor, the Dean and Canons of Windsor, the Wandsmen, and many more with roles of historical significance.

At 11a.m the Queen entered with her own procession.  She is a diminutive figure. Smartly dressed in a royal blue coat and hat, she has been handing out Maundy money since 1953.  After a bible reading the Queen proceeded around to personally hand two pouches of Maundy money to 92 recipients which was followed by a hymn and second reading. Then she was up again to dispense to the remaining 92 recipients. 

After the service Jill attended a reception in some of the magnificent rooms of Windsor; St George’s Hall, the Waterloo Chamber, the Grand Reception Room and the Garter Throne Room. Upon her return Jill said, “We certainly do history, pomp and circumstance very well.  However, this was also a very humbling experience.”

The Maundy service derives its name from the Latin ‘mandatum’ meaning a commandment. The Royal Maundy can be traced back in England with certainty to the 13th century.  The first recorded Royal Distribution was in Yorkshire by King John in 1210. From the 15th century the number of recipients has equalled the years of the Sovereign’s life.  At one time, recipients were required to be the same sex as the Sovereign, but since the 18th century gender equality has been established, hence 92 men and 92 women received this year. The Distribution is in two parts.  A red purse contains a nominal allowance for clothing and provisions.  A white purse contains the Maundy coins; silver pennies, twopences, threepences and fourpences according to the age of the Sovereign.  The pouches are carried in six alms dishes dating from the reign of King Charles 11. All this is legal tender, but Jill says she will not be using it at the local shops!  She described her day as one to cherish!

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