Queen Elizabeth is celebrating the 2021 Maundy Gift recipients. In a letter shared to Twitter on Thursday, the 94-year-old monarch wrote to this year’s 190 recipients in lieu of the scheduled in-person service at Westminster Abbey.
Each year on Maundy Thursday, the queen distributes specially minted coins in red-and-white purses to pensioners, in recognition of their outstanding Christian service.
This year, recipients received via mail both the queen’s letter and their gift, the latter of which commemorated Her Majesty’s upcoming 95th birthday, as well as the 50th anniversary of Decimal Day, the day on which the U.K. and Ireland decimalized its currency.
“I am delighted to send you the Maundy Gift which I hope you will accept as an expression of my personal thanks to you for all that you have done to enrich the life of your community,” the queen’s letter began, before the monarch turned to the importance of service in the Christian faith.
“On the night before he died, Jesus washed the feet of his Disciples. This was something usually done for guests by a servant of the household,” she wrote. “By taking the part of a servant, Jesus set an example to the Disciples and to those who, down through the ages, would try to follow him. He showed us that service for others is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.”
“I hope this Maundy Gift will remind you for years to come that your efforts have been truly appreciated.”
📮Since the Royal Maundy Service cannot go ahead this year, The Queen has written to 190 recipients, who have received their traditional purses in the post.
📸 PA, 2019 pic.twitter.com/Xap3bwQJij
According to the queen, the traditional in-person service, which dates back to 600 AD, provides “an opportunity to recognize, and give thanks for, work done by countless people for the wellbeing of their neighbors; work that has often been taken for granted or hidden.”
Despite the cancellation of this year’s event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the queen expressed her hope that each of this year’s recipients, 95 men and 95 women, would still feel appreciated by her note and gift.
“I am sure you will be sad, as I am, that present circumstances make it impossible for that Service to take place,” she wrote. “I hope however that this Maundy Gift will remind you for years to come that your efforts have been truly appreciated.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones,” she added. “I wish you every blessing, and a very happy Easter.”
The Royal Maundy Service dates back all the way to 600AD!
Find out more about Royal Maundy here: https://t.co/zVb9Z7S81e
📸 The Maundy purses in The Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace pic.twitter.com/7fBpbHkrE9
In addition to the queen’s message, the royal family’s Twitter account shared stories of a few of this year’s recipients, who are being honored for such things as charity work, weekly walks to church, and past military service.
🎿 George is 101 years old, and still walks to church every Sunday. He went skiing when he was 100!
🐐 Carole has volunteered with @AtfCare, a care farm charity which supports vulnerable young people, for over 30 years. pic.twitter.com/5yAwJQg4gm
Congratulations to all of this year’s remarkable Maundy Recipients! pic.twitter.com/HA891U8h8G
Watch the video below for more on the royal family.
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