Queen Elizabeth handed out money (in little purses) for Maundy Thursday

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Eugenie attend the Royal Maundy Service

I wasn’t raised in any particular religion. My mom was, like, a lapsed Presbyterian, I think? She only went to church once in my childhood. My father was a practising Hindu, “practising” in the sense that he loved to put Hindu idols all around the house and would make frequent references to Shiva providing. My point is that my education around religion was free-wheeling, shall we say. I didn’t learn much about Christianity until I was well into my teens, and honestly, most of what I know about Jesus’s life came from Jesus Christ Superstar (I sh-t you not).

So you’ll hopefully understand that I did not know that Maundy Thursday was/is a thing? Like I’m ~~ years old and I guess I’ve never paid attention. Maundy Thursday is the marking of the Last Supper of Jesus and his Apostles before the Crucifixion. Queen Elizabeth marks Maundy Thursday every year by handing out Maundy Money to men and women at Anglican churches. She’s apparently visited every Anglican church in England at this point to pass out the Maundy Money. It’s a 13th century tradition for the monarch to hand out money, and the Queen’s twist is that she doesn’t go out to the streets to hand out money to just any peasant she comes across. She goes to church and hands out the money to people who have been vetted by the palace for their service to the community.

In years past, the Queen does the Maundy Money thing with Prince Philip, but he wasn’t around today. Princess Eugenie came out to support her grandmother instead. The Queen handed 93 men and 93 women – one of each sex for every year the Queen’s been alive – two small purses, one red and one white:

Each recipient of Maundy money – one male and one female for every year the Queen has been alive – was given two small leather purses, one red and one white. The first contains a small amount of coinage which symbolizes the monarch’s gift for food and clothing – this year in the form of newly two minted cousins: a £5 piece, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria and a 50p coin portraying Sherlock Holmes. The white purse contains Maundy coins up to the value of the Queen’s age. Recipients at Thursday’s service were given 93p in silver Maundy coins.

“It seems to have been the custom as early as the thirteenth century for members of the royal family to take part in Maundy ceremonies, to distribute money and gifts, and to recall Christ’s simple act of humility by washing the feet of the poor,” according to the Royal Mint.

Early in her reign, the Queen decided Maundy money should not just be distributed to the people of London, and so she now travels to various cathedrals or abbeys to give gifts to local people. The recipients were chosen in recognition of their service to the community.

[From People]

This is a surprisingly fascinating tradition that I’m just hearing about now. As I said, my religious education was severely lacking. I would assume that this is not just an Anglican thing? Also: SHERLOCK HOLMES IS ON MONEY. That’s awesome. How cool would it be to receive two little purses filled with coins from the Queen? You wouldn’t spend it, of course. You would keep it and save it for a very long time.

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Eugenie attend the Royal Maundy Service

Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

30 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth handed out money (in little purses) for Maundy Thursday”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. DC Cliche says:

    Henry VIII washed feet every Maundy Thursday. This feels preferable.

  2. gingersnaps says:

    Yeah, I think she and Prince Philip went here to my city a few years ago for Maundy Thursday. I wanted to go into town to see them but I had work. British money is amazing there are a lot of collector’s items although I’m only collecting Peter Rabbit coins in 50 pence for my son and they also ‘recently’ launched a Jane Austen £10 note.

  3. Kittycat says:

    So we are not going to talk about Eugenie?

    Congratulations look in order!

    • ShazBot says:

      Not sure what pics you’re looking at, but there isn’t a great view…could just be she ate breakfast first and the way her tummy slouches out. Man, the number of pics I have where I inadvertently look pregnant – I’d have tons of babies by now!
      Congrats if she is, but also, yay for food?!

    • Jensies says:

      I was kind of shocked! Where did that bump come from so fast? Congrats to her, at any rate. Prob trying to wait until after the Sussex birth to announce.

  4. Mindy_dopple says:

    So Eugene is pregnant right?

  5. Cady says:

    Religion is stupid.

    • Surly Gale says:

      Cady, That’s a pretty blanket statement, but thank you for sharing. May I take this opportunity to disagree. Religion is like a person, not all good (except One) and not all bad.

    • Tessycat says:

      What troll comment.

    • Ader says:

      I agree. I’ll take it one step further and say that due to socialization, until we get rid of organized religion, sexism and racism will rage on.

      • Malificent says:

        If you take organized religion out of the equation, sexism and racism will still manage to rage on quite efficiently.

      • Ader says:

        True, for our lifetime. But 100 years from now, it likely would have an impact.

    • broodytrudy says:

      Religion is essentially the only reason humanity has survived. For more than 100,000 years humanity has relied on their beliefs to survive and thrive in societies, regardless of the type of religion. Religion has helped advanced sciences, critical thinking, philosophy, literature, mathematics, and government. It’s one of the reasons your trolling ass is even alive today.

      Organized religion certainly has it’s flaws, whether ritual human sacrifice or sexual abuse or severe pressure or rejection of modern medicine. But do not come out with that “religion is trash bullshit”. It’s contributed more to human society than you have.

      • tash says:

        While I agree that Cady made a blanket statement, it can also be said that religion has helped stunt “sciences, critical thinking, philosophy, literature, mathematics, and government.” You give religion too much credit I’m afraid.

      • Ader says:

        Perhaps. But at this point, it’s a hindrance. It colors our opinions in ways we can’t even recognize. The usefulness of organized religion is over.

        I’m not talking about personal belief. But the organized stuff is doing more harm than good at this point.

      • broodytrudy says:

        Tash, that’s an exceptionally western viewpoint. Christianity maybe, but literally every other religion that has ever existed on the face of the planet? Lol no. Don’t come at me with that. Religion as a whole, throughout the entire history of humanity, has been a good thing. The few instances of oppression and miseducation is infinitesimal compared to the entirety of human history.

        Ader, I completely agree with you. At this point, there’s not much need for organized religion. I do think we’d be better off without it, but i wonder the psychological implications.

      • ShazBot says:

        This gives religion an awful lot of credit that they probably aren’t deserving of. If anything I would say it’s COMMUNITY that has allowed humans to survive and thrive, and at times religion as provided the community, and at times it has provided a hindrance to it. Communities will form around all sorts of things, but that is truly what keeps everyone going – when a community looks out for each other, and works towards a goal – that leads to innovation and success.
        The switch from hunter-gatherer to farming allowed humans to create larger communities, which lead to cities and then “modern” civilization.

      • tash says:

        @broodytrudy – please elaborate. I’m not saying that religion doesn’t have its positive aspects, but give me a religion and I’ll give you a shit ton of bad things that it brought/still brings to the world.
        By the way, I’m not from the west. Are you? Also, I was held at gun/knife point on a few occasions in the name of religion. Were you?

      • Cady says:

        “It’s contributed more to human society than you have.”

        It has also been the root cause of most of the suffering on this planet.

      • tash says:

        @ShazBot – 👏 spot on, eloquently said!

  6. GoTDang says:

    Never heard of it either. Different specific religions have different traditions. Mine included forcing sexual abuse victims to repent, and eating shredded carrots in lime jello. Fortunately I escaped all of that noise. Seems like more people would still go to my church if the governor handed out money.

  7. Jess says:

    I was raised a secular Christian (eg we celebrated all the holidays but without the church going parts) and I’ve never heard of this tradition.

  8. Cee says:

    Yup, it is a christian thing. My catholic friends are all going to mass tonight (and on Friday and Sunday). My atheist ass will spend Sunday eating Easter eggs. I wish someone gave me money, though.

    • Tessycat says:

      I’d rather be a believer and take the chance of ultimately being wrong, than not believe and be wrong. I have lost nothing by believing. What do you lose if you’re wrong?

      • Maria says:

        That sounds like Pascal’s wager. Bet on belief. You might be wrong, but you might be right. Nothing to lose. I agree.

      • Lady D says:

        @Tessycat, Fear tactics to keep the masses in line. Every religion is known for it, they all practice it.

      • Cee says:

        Tessycat – the point of being atheist is that I don’t care if I’m wrong. I don’t believe in any god nor in after life. When I die, that’s it. I return to the ground and to the system that birthed me.

        Why can’t some religious people accept and understand what having no faith means? I’m glad you take comfort in your faith, even if you treat it as some sort of gamble. I take comfort in not caring either way. I also take comfort in chocolate.

    • Cojii says:

      For me it would take more than 5 pounds to make it worth sitting through church.

  9. JRenee says:

    I missed the full round tummy, I was stumped at the dress. It’s not attractive at all imo