UK

Maundy Thursday: Queen joined by Eugenie at Windsor service

Princess Eugenie Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Princess Eugenie attended the service at St George's Chapel, where she was married last year

The Queen was joined by Princess Eugenie for this year's Royal Maundy Service as she marked Maundy Thursday by handing out coins to pensioners.

Commemorative purses were given to 93 men and 93 women at Windsor Castle's St George's Chapel, referring to the Queen's 93rd birthday on Sunday.

The recipients were chosen in recognition of their service to the church and local community.

Maundy Thursday is a Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter.

When the Queen arrived at the chapel's north door with her granddaughter, they were presented with traditional nosegays - which in ancient times warded off unpleasant smells - before taking their seats at the head of the congregation.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Queen handed out purses containing commemorative coins to pensioners
Image copyright Reuters

Buckingham Palace said those receiving coins were given two purses - one red and one white.

The red purse contained a £5 coin commemorating the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth, and a 50p coin portraying Sherlock Holmes.

The white purse, the Palace added, contained "uniquely minted" Maundy money, which came in the form of "one, two, three and four silver penny pieces".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen and Princess Eugenie were presented with nosegays upon arrival
Image copyright Getty Images

What is Maundy Thursday?

Maundy Thursday, the fifth day of Holy Week - which runs from Palm Sunday to Easter - is a day when Christians remember Jesus Christ sharing the Last Supper with his disciples before his death on Good Friday.

The origins of the ceremony come from the commandment Christ gave after washing his disciples' feet, where according to the Bible, he told them to "love one another as I have loved you".

Historically, it has involved handing out food and clothing and cleaning the poor.

The Pope traditionally bathes and kisses the feet of 12 people who are normally members of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Royal Family has taken part in Maundy ceremonies since the 13th Century.

During the Queen's reign the Royal Maundy Service has been held at cathedrals and abbeys across the UK.

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