Dick Johnson submitted these thoughts on a busy week for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
On Maundy Thursday, April 21st, Queen Elizabeth handed out Maundy coins. It occurred
this year on her 85th birthday, a first. It also represented Prince Philip's 90th
birthday, with her son's royal wedding just nine days away. How's that for a full
This year she dispenses specially minted Maundy coins to 85 men and 85 women, custom
dictates the number matches her age. Each recipient receives two purses, one red,
one white. The red purse this year contains a 50-pence coin marking the 2012 London
Olympic Games. The white purse holds specially minted Maundy Money, silver coins of
one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which equals the Queen's age.
This year's Royal Maundy Service ceremony takes place at Westminster Abbey (location
changes to a different church each year). The royal wedding will also take place at
Westminster Abbey. Choristers and clergy for the royal wedding venue will be using
the Maundy Easter ceremony to help them prepare for Prince William and Kate
Middleton's nuptials, April 29th. Get your video cameras ready!
The Maundy custom will celebrate its 800th anniversary in 2013. It was British King
John, who in 1213, gave alums,13 pence to each of 13 poor men -- the number being
symbolic of the Twelve Apostles together with either Jesus or an angel. The custom
changed in 1363 when Edward II gave fifty pence to 50 poor men, equal to his age.
The first special Maundy coins were issued in 1689.
This week's news story:
Queen at Maundy service on birthday
Wayne Homren, Editor
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