The Queen isn't letting the coronavirus pandemic put an end to all of her favourite traditions. The monarch devised a safe, socially-distant way to carry out her pre-Easter tradition, known as Maundy Thursday.
Traditionally, on the Thursday before Easter, the Queen travels to churches in the United Kingdom and hands out specially-minted coins (called "Maundy money") to people who are over 70 years old, in recognition of their service to their communities. This year, for the second year in a row, the tradition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of skipping her Maundy tradition entirely, the Queen sent out Maundy money and a letter with a personal message to 190 UK residents over 70—one man and one woman for each of the 95 years she's been alive (she officially celebrates her 95th birthday on April 21).
In her letter to the lucky recipients, the monarch wrote:
"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.
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. 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.
Each year, at the Royal Maundy Service, we have an opportunity to recognize, and give thanks for, work done by countless people for the well-being of their neighbors; work that has often been taken for granted or hidden.
I am sure you will be sad, as I am, that present circumstances make it impossible for that service to take place. 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.
I wish you every blessing and a very happy Easter."
The Palace shared the Queen's letter, along with more information about her Maundy Thursday plans and a video of daffodils blowing in the wind in The Green Park, near The Chapel Royal and Buckingham Palace.
"Today is Maundy Thursday, and since the traditional Royal Maundy Service could not go ahead, The Queen has written to 190 Maundy Recipients, who have been sent their traditional purses of specially-minted coins in the post," the Palace explained in the post's caption, encouraging followers to swipe to see the Queen's letter and to see the account's Instagram Stories to learn more about the holiday.
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