Maundy Money arriving by post not pageantry
A great many life events are on hold, delayed or even cancelled during this time of lockdown, including those that only come once in a lifetime, like being given Maundy Money by the Queen.
Lay Canon Carrie Tucker, Secretary to Readers, was to be awarded the honour of receiving Maundy Money from Her Majesty the Queen, in person, at St George’s Chapel Windsor, followed by lunch at Windsor Castle. Instead, Carrie, like so many others at this time, had to be content with plan B – a letter and parcel in the post.
What is Maundy Money?
Traditionally, the Maundy Service is one of great pageantry that, at its heart, is an act of humility by the Queen. Maundy Thursday itself commemorates the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, commanding them to ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ Royalty followed this example, from as early as the thirteenth century, washing the feet of their subjects. Over time, this tradition changed to the monarch honouring their chosen subjects with a payment for provisions, clothing and a fee for the redemption of the sovereign’s gown as well as Maundy Money. These are coins specially minted and made from silver amounting to the face value of the monarch’s age.
The Queen, who is 94 this year, maintains this tradition. Ninety-four people from across the United Kingdom, chosen for their extraordinary service to the church and the community, were invited to attend and receive Maundy Money. And Lay Canon Carrie Tucker was one of them.
Receiving Maundy Money by post – as well as a signed letter from the Queen
Sadly, it was not possible for the service to go ahead and so Carrie received her Maundy Money by post, together with a letter personally signed by the Queen. She expressed her thanks and disappointment at not being able to honour Carrie’s commitment by physically giving the Maundy Money to her in person.
“It was one of my most rewarding duties as Sovereign to observe this highly significant ceremony at such an important point in the Christian calendar. 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’. The Queen continues, “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.”
The Maundy Gift consists of two leather purses, one red, one white. The red purse contains coins representing the ancient allowance for clothing and provisions. Included was a£5 coin commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth and a 50p coin portraying Team Great Britain in the 2020 Olympics. The white purse contains the Maundy Money, newly minted silver coins to the face value of the Queen’s age.
“I dressed up with nowhere to go, apart from my garden! But it was a great honour nevertheless,” says Carrie.