The Queen is joined by Princess Eugenie at Maundy Thursday service at Windsor Castle

The Queen wore spring-like Easter yellow for the annual Maundy Thursday service at St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle today.

Her Majesty, 92, was joined by her granddaughter Princess Eugenie for the annual service, which sees her offering commemorative coins to senior citizens. 

The recipients are retired, pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations – in recognition of service to the Church and to the local community. 

This year, the Queen will hand out Maundy money to 93 men and women, one for each of her 93 years. She will celebrate her birthday on Saturday. 

St George’s chapel has a significance for Princess Eugenie, as she married her husband Jack Brooksbank at the church on 12 October 2018.

The Queen and Princess Eugenie arrive at the Royal Maundy Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

The Queen and Princess Eugenie arrive at the Royal Maundy Service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

The Queen and Princess Eugenie arrive at the Royal Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

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Princess Eugenie donned a blue floral dress from Erdem which featured a ruffled neck and long sleeves.

It’s a favourite of the princess, as the royal was spotted in the dress at Royal Ascot and for a meeting at the UN headquarters. 

She paired it with navy blue accessories, including a small hat with plait detailing.  

Meanwhile the Queen wore a buttercup-coloured Stewart Pravin outfit and matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan.  

The royals arrived at the Maundy Service earlier today, and waved to crowds. The annual service will see the Queen handing out commemorative coins to 93 pensioners

The royals arrived at the Maundy Service earlier today, and waved to crowds. The annual service will see the Queen handing out commemorative coins to 93 pensioners

The royals arrived at the Maundy Service earlier today, and waved to crowds. The annual service will see the Queen handing out commemorative coins to 93 pensioners 

Princess Eugenie, 29, wore a stylish floral Erdem dress and a small navy blue hat for the service. She was given a traditional nosegay at the chapel's door before entering the church

Princess Eugenie, 29, wore a stylish floral Erdem dress and a small navy blue hat for the service. She was given a traditional nosegay at the chapel's door before entering the church

Princess Eugenie, 29, wore a stylish floral Erdem dress and a small navy blue hat for the service. She was given a traditional nosegay at the chapel’s door before entering the church

The presentation of the money is taking place during the Royal Maundy service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. 

The pensioners were chosen in recognition of their service to the community and the Church.

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. 

This year the service was held at St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank tied the knot last year.  

The royals looked overjoyed to be attending the service together, which is a rare official appearance from the pair

The royals looked overjoyed to be attending the service together, which is a rare official appearance from the pair

The royals looked overjoyed to be attending the service together, which is a rare official appearance from the pair

What is Maundy Thursday and why is it called that? 

What is Maundy Thursday?

Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter and is observed by millions of Christians worldwide in commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and his disciples. Christians also believe the Jesus commanded his followers to love each other and washed their feet during the meal.

It always precedes Good Friday and marks the start of the three-day Easter celebration.

Maundy Thursday is also sometimes known as Holy Thursday, the Thursday of Mysteries, Covenant Thursday and Sheer Thursday.

Why is it called Maundy Thursday?

The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word ‘mandatum,’ which means command.

This refers to the command that Jesus gave his disciples to love each other during the Last Supper: ‘A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.’ (John 13:34, Revised Standard Version).

How is Maundy Thursday celebrated in the UK?

Queen Elizabeth observes Maundy Thursday by taking part in the distribution of alms. In 2019 this will take place at St George’s Chapel, at Windsor Castle.

The number of pensioners chosen rises with the monarch’s age. In 2019 the Royal Maundy will be distributed about 93 women and 93 men.

All of the recipients will be senior citizens who will receive the Royal Maundy in honor of their service to the church and the local community.

The Queen is joined by Princess Eugenie today, who married her husband Jack Brooksbank in St George's Chapel at Windsor

The Queen is joined by Princess Eugenie today, who married her husband Jack Brooksbank in St George's Chapel at Windsor

The Queen is joined by Princess Eugenie today, who married her husband Jack Brooksbank in St George’s Chapel at Windsor 

The Queen wore a buttercup-coloured Stewart Pravin outfit and matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan

The Queen wore a buttercup-coloured Stewart Pravin outfit and matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan

The Queen wore a buttercup-coloured Stewart Pravin outfit and matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan 

It’s a rare public appearance for Princess Eugenie and the Queen. 

Eugenie, now 29, last joined the Queen when her grandmother, with the Duke of Edinburgh, opened the Great North Museum in Newcastle in 2009. 

The then 19-year-old princess was studying English, history of art and politics at the city’s university.

Meanwhile today celebrates Maundy Thursday, which is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter, and commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles.

The Queen and Princess Eugenie looked overjoyed to be at the service, and posed for photographs afterward

The Queen and Princess Eugenie looked overjoyed to be at the service, and posed for photographs afterward

The Queen and Princess Eugenie looked overjoyed to be at the service, and posed for photographs afterward

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which originated in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples the day before Good Friday.  

Historically, this sum of £5.50 in the red purse is made up of £3 for clothing, £1.50 in lieu of provisions and £1 for the redemption of the Sovereign’s gown which, before Tudor times, used to be divided between the recipients. 

The White Purse contains uniquely minted Maundy Money, which, unlike coins in general circulation, bear the portrait of the Queen produced by Mary Gillick at the start of her reign.

Gillick, a sculptor, designed the portrait which appeared on the coins of the UK and some Commonwealth countries from 1953 until preparations for decimalisation began in 1968.

The portrait of the Queen wearing a wreath on her head was considered to reflect the nation’s optimism as it greeted a new monarch in the post-war years.  

She looked overjoyed to be taking part in the annual service once again, and was given a nosegay at the door of the church before entering

She looked overjoyed to be taking part in the annual service once again, and was given a nosegay at the door of the church before entering

She looked overjoyed to be taking part in the annual service once again, and was given a nosegay at the door of the church before entering  

Princess Eugenie has worn the gorgeous floral Erdem dress in the past to the Royal Ascot, as well as to a UN meeting (above)

Princess Eugenie has worn the gorgeous floral Erdem dress in the past to the Royal Ascot, as well as to a UN meeting (above)

Princess Eugenie has worn the gorgeous floral Erdem dress in the past to the Royal Ascot, as well as to a UN meeting (above) 

The history of the monarchs and the Maundy Thursday service

The first monarch to take part in a Maundy Thursday service was King John, of Magna Carta and Robin Hood fame, who distributed gifts of clothes and money to the poor in Knaresborough in 1210.

John was also the first to present the poor with silver coins and is recorded as having done so in Rochester in 1213.

John’s grandson Edward I, the king known to posterity as ‘the Hammer of the Scots’, was the first to confine the tradition to Maundy Thursday alone, which, until his reign, could be conducted on any day of the year.

By 1363 and Edward III, the tradition had evolved into a ceremony that is still recognisable today, with monarchs handing out money equivalent to their age in years.

The ceremony was little changed by the dawn of the Tudor period, although rulers could – and did – increase the number of beggars involved to show their religious devotion and humility.

None took it more seriously than Mary I – or Bloody Mary – who in 1556 washed the feet of 41 ‘poor women’ and spent the entire ceremony on her knees.

Later monarchs were less keen on the service, with some, among them Charles I, rarely bothering to take part.

Charles II, anxious to curry favour with his subjects following the Restoration, took part in the ceremony without fail, including during the plague years.

Although today’s ceremony takes place in a different location each year, Queen Victoria insisted on doing it at Westminster Abbey – a custom that remained in place until the Queen took the throne in 1952.

The Queen was just eight years old when she first attended the Maundy Day service as Princess Elizabeth in 1935 at Westminster Abbey

She has taken part in the Royal Maundy Service in all but four years of her reign, including in 1954 when she was away touring the Commonwealth.

In 1960 she was also forced to pull out because of the imminent birth of Prince Andrew, again in 1964 for the birth of Prince Edward and in 1970 due to a tour of New Zealand.

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