Queen Elizabeth II has sent alms by post to 188 elderly people to mark Maundy Thursday, after this year’s royal service was cancelled amid Britain’s near-lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The queen, who turns 94 this month, sent commemorative coins in special purses to 94 men and 94 women, reflecting her age, Buckingham Palace said.
She normally hands out the purses personally at an annual Royal Maundy service in a British church.
“Recipients of Maundy Money are usually at least 70 years old and are nominated by their local dioceses for their outstanding contributions to their local church and community life.
“To mark the occasion this year, a letter from Her Majesty along with the Maundy Gift of the purses and money has been posted to all 188 recipients to allow recipients to mark the occasion from their homes,’’ the palace said.
The palace said this year’s oldest recipient was Thomas Brock, 101, a bell-ringer who started his hobby 94 years ago.
Maundy Thursday falls one day before Good Friday, the day of Christ’s crucifixion.
The ceremony has its origins in the commandment Christ gave his disciples to love one another, and maundy comes from the Latin mandatum, or commandment.
An annual Royal Maundy service commemorates Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, or Apostles, at the Last Supper.