The Queen is to make a glorious return to York Minster, as the city hosts Her Majesty’s annual Maundy mass in her Diamond Jubilee year.
Queen Elizabeth II’s first Maundy mass at York Minster was on a drizzly, spring day in 1972, when large crowds braved the rain in Duncomb Place to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty.
The pageantry inside the cathedral was colourful, with most of the women in the congregation wearing Easter straw hats sporting scarlet roses – a colour repeated in the medieval uniforms of the Yeoman of the Guard, the choir surplices and the robes of the Aldermen and the Archbishop of York, Dr Donald Coggan.
Forty-six men and the same number of women – the number reflecting the Queen’s age at the time – received the money in coloured purses.
Since the fifteenth century, the number of Maundy coins handed out, and the number of people receiving the coins, has been related to the Sovereign’s age.
The tradition of the Sovereign giving money to the poor dates from the thirteenth century. The Sovereign also used to give food and clothing, and even washed the recipients’ feet but the last monarch to do so was James II.
To share in the celebrations of this year’s very special Maundy mass, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice will be attending the service, along with Her Majesty, on Thursday 5th April.
A team of about 60 people are hard at work transforming the cathedral – moving and polishing furniture, setting out candles and organising seating plans before floral decorations are brought in ahead of the visit.
The Royal Maundy service will take place at 11am and after the service, the Royal party will attend a lunch at the Mansion House and then visit the Yorkshire Museum.
It is estimated that 15,000 well-wishers will descend on the city on Thursday in the hope of seeing Her Majesty…but if you would prefer to avoid the crowds, we’re offering BRITAIN readers the opportunity to send their own personal Diamond Jubilee message to The Queen!
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