Queen says she's 'sad' to cancel Royal Maundy service for second year as she sends gifts to pensioners

The Queen has expressed her sadness at having to cancel the traditional Royal Maundy service for the second year in a row and has sent gifts to the 190 recipients she was supposed to meet. Throughout her reign the Queen has distributed the Maundy Gift to pensioners on the Thursday before Easter at different cathedrals and abbeys across the United Kingdom. This year’s service was due to take place at Westminster Abbey.

There are 190 Maundy recipients in 2021 – one man and one woman for each of the Queen’s 95 years (she will turn 95 on April 21st). The Queen wrote a letter to them saying: “I am sure you will be sad, as I am, that present circumstances make it impossible for that service to take place.” She sent them a gift of coins which have been newly minted to mark the Queen’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of decimalisation. A £5 coin and a 50p coin comes in a red purse. A white purse contains silver penny pieces which add up to the number of years of the Monarch’s age.

Queen Elizabeth II with Princess Eugenie at St George's Chapel in Windsor after the 2019 Royal Maundy Service. Credit: PA

Maundy Thursday is an important day in the Christian calendar, a holy day before Easter which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles. It is a very important day for the Queen who has been unable to hold the traditional service since Easter 2019. The Queen wrote: “I am delighted to send you the Maundy Gift which I hope you will accept as an expression of my personal thanks to you for all that you have done to enrich the life of your community.” The pensioner recipients are chosen by clergy and ministers of all denominations to thank them for their service to their communities. The Queen said to them: “I hope however that this Maundy Gift will remind you for years to come that your efforts have been truly appreciated.”: The Queen remains at Windsor Castle where she has spent most of the past year since leaving Buckingham Palace at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

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