Queen distributes this year's "Maundy Thursday money"

King Charles III is ill: Camilla takes over role in church service

London - It is an important symbolic date for the English monarch: On Maundy Thursday, he presents old people with a small sum of money at a church service. But Charles is ill – wife Camilla takes over.

Published  on 05.03.2024 at 11:34  – 

On Maundy Thursday, Queen Camilla takes over the distribution of the so-called Maundy money for her husband and King Charles III, who is suffering from cancer. This was announced by Buckingham Palace on Monday evening. The associated service will take place in Worcester Cathedral in the west of England.

Charles has continued this tradition of his mother Elizabeth II, who died in 2022. Selected people, all of whom are of retirement age and chosen by their diocese, receive the "Maundy Thursday money" from the monarch as a sign of recognition for their service to the church and the community. The "Maundy money" is similar to the Catholic custom of the Pope or Catholic priests washing people's feet on Maundy Thursday in remembrance of the Last Supper.

Age of the monarch is decisive

The recipients of the "Maundy Thursday money" are usually as many men and women as the monarch is years old - i.e. 75 each. The age of the king also determines the number of coins. According to the royal mint, which produces these special coins, King John presented coins for the first time in 1213; 13 pennies to 13 poor men. Since the reign of Henry IV (1399-1413), the number of recipients has been equated with the age of the king.

Each recipient receives two small leather pouches containing coins that have been blessed beforehand. One contains coins as they are currently in circulation, symbolising a royal alms for clothing or food. A second bag contains as many coins specially minted for Maundy Thursday as the monarch is old.

Queen Camilla (76) is taking part in the ceremony for the third time. In 2022 and 2023, her husband Charles distributed the coins, in 2022 on behalf of the then 95-year-old Elizabeth II - the English monarch is also the secular head of the Anglican Church of England. (KNA)