The Queen is visiting York to distribute Maundy Money at the Minster. During the Royal Maundy Service, The Queen will distribute the Maundy Money to 86 women and 86 men - one for each of The Queen's 86 years. Each recipient receives two purses, one red and one white.
The red purse will contain a £5 coin commemorating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and a 50p coin. Both coins have been minted in 2012. The white purse will contain uniquely minted Maundy Money. This takes the form of silver one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which equals the number of years the Monarch has years of age. This year there will be 86 pennies worth distributed. All the coins are newly minted this year.
The recipients are all retired pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of service to the Church and to the community in York. To mark Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee, this year recipients for the Royal Maundy Money have also been chosen from every Diocese and Country with the United Kingdom.
The tradition of the monarch handing out Maundy Money before Easter dates back to the reign of King John at the turn of the 13th century. The Queen first distributed the coins at York Minster in 1972. Today is the first time in her reign that she's returned to any church outside London to repeat the ceremony. It's to mark the 800 years since the city was granted a Royal Charter by King John in 1212. This allowed York to take charge of its own affairs by electing a council, creating the post of mayor, and giving its people a voice.