Royal Maundy Service 2024

First published on: 12th April 2024

The annual Royal Maundy Service was held this year in Worcester Cathedral.

We congratulate the two recipients of the Maundy Money from our Diocese - Pam Bishop and Alan Mathews. They are pictured in the centre of the photo. 

Alan’s reflections 

I was very privileged to be a recipient of this year's Royal Maunday Money. The earliest record of this being a Royal event dates back to the 13th Century when King John washed the feet and gave alms to paupers. As King John is buried in Worcester Cathedral it was fitting that this year's ceremony should take place there. 

75 men and 75 women, chosen from all over the United Kingdom were recipients of the specially minted Maunday Money which is a personal gift from the King. Unfortunately, because of ill health, King Charles was unable to personally distribute the red and white purses. His place was taken by Her Majesty the Queen. This is the one occasion when the Monarch comes to you rather than the other way around. 

The whole service emphasises the message of Christ; that you love one another and that He came to serve not be served. King Charles emphasised this in his recorded message. Those of you who were present when the Royal Maunday Service was held in Liverpool Cathedral in 2004 will remember the blaze of colour from the uniforms of the Yeomen of the Guard and the Choristers of the Chapel Royal. 

It was a great and unexpected surprise to be chosen as one of the 75 men invited to receive the Royal Maunday Money. 

Pam’s reflections 

The invitation in January came as a complete surprise but the letters from the Palace set the scene well - clear instructions, assurance of support and inclusion, welcoming and personable.

On the day, arrangements for car parking and entry to the cathedral were equally helpful and stewards did all they could to ensure we knew where to go and what to do. We and our companions had to be in our seats about one hour ahead of the service at 11am.  There were friendly greetings with those around us from other parts of the country and it was gratifying to exchange experiences and the work we were doing.

I was particularly pleased to be seated next to Alan Matthews whom I did not know beforehand but we soon were chatting and we were proud to be representing Liverpool Diocese on this occasion.

The service was a typical Anglican event – pomp and splendour, processions, colourful uniforms, and vestments, beautiful choral and organ music, and meaningful liturgy. This was set against a more informal ‘feel’, a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere with lovely people to talk to. The balance was just right – a sense of occasion but very inclusive.

The King was unable to attend because of his cancer treatment but he had taken time to record the reading of the first lesson – an account from St John’s Gospel of the Last Supper and the washing of feet. This set the appropriate theme of the occasion – ‘I have come to serve not to be served’. King Charles had also recorded a much appreciated personal message for the congregation, to express his sadness at being absent, to share his experience of the importance of friends in times of need and the significance of the Christian challenge to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.

Queen Camilla was present to carry out the royal duties of distributing the Maundy purses. She did this individually for the 75 men and 75 women recipients finding time to greet everyone briefly and with an easy style. There are two small leather purses, the red one containing a £5 coin featuring the image of a Tudor Dragon and a 50p coin commemorating the RNLI. The white one contains small silver penny pieces to the sum of 75p, the monarch’s age.

After prayers and more beautiful music, the service concluded with the congregational hymn ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’, the Blessing, and the singing of the National Anthem.

Then it was cameras out to catch pictures of Queen Camilla and to record the occasion, people who had accompanied us and those sitting nearby.  It was a very cold damp day but many people braved the elements outside to take more photos and wait to wave off the royal party.

Overall, it was a wonderful occasion – it felt very special, had been incredibly well planned and efficiently executed but we all felt at ease and involved. It was an honour to be there, no one I believe feeling particularly worthy of that honour but nonetheless enjoying a very happy day. 

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