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Queen adapts Maundy Thursday tradition due to COVID-19 outbreak

QUEEN

SHUTTERSTOCK

Cerith Gardiner - published on 04/11/20

This unusual gesture will be much appreciated by the recipients.

Every year, as part of Easter celebrations, Queen Elizabeth II hands out money to the elderly after church on Maundy Thursday in a nod to the tradition of almsgiving. The number of recipients goes up each extra year the sovereign has been alive. Considering her impressive age, this year 94 men and 94 women were due to receive the special coins.

The pensioners are selected based on their services to their communities or the church and this year one such recipient was a 101-year-old bell ringer, Thomas Brock. Having started bell ringing at the tender age of seven, the centenarian is the world’s longest active bell ringer. Instead of getting to meet the monarch, Brock and the other dedicated seniors on the list received a small package, according to the Evening Standard. Inside were the usual gifts the Queen would hand out: A white leather purse containing coins that had been especially minted for the occasion, normally with a value equal to the Queen’s age. There was also the usual red leather purse containing five pounds and 50 pence, in everyday currency, which is to replace the gifts of food and clothing the royal once handed out.

This year, in addition to the coins, the British sovereign sent a letter that read:

I know that you, as a recipient of this year’s Maundy Gift, will be as deeply disappointed as I am that it is not going ahead, while understanding the necessary decision in the current circumstances. However, this should not mean your invaluable contribution within the community goes unnoticed, and I am sending this Maundy Gift to thank you for your Christian service. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families at this difficult time.

The thoughtful gesture will no doubt be most welcome at a time where the elderly are at their most vulnerable and when they will not be able to enjoy their usual Easter traditions with their loved ones.


QUEEN ELIZABETH

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SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL

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