The Queen has had to break with tradition for one of her “most rewarding functions as a sovereign” and uses the post to send her annual Maundy money.
Each year on Good Thursday, Her Majesty distributes specially minted coins to retirees across the UK to recognize their community spirit.
This year, the service was canceled due to coronavirus.
Instead, to mark the occasion this year, the 188 recipients who should have attended the Royal Maundy Service in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle received the traditional £ 5 coin and a 50 pence coin in a bag. hand, as well as a letter from the Queen.
In the personal letter, she noted her disappointment that the service was not taking place as usual.
It read: “It is my great pleasure to send you the Maundy gift which I unfortunately cannot distribute to you personally.
“This ancient Christian ceremony, which reflects Jesus’ instruction to his disciples to love one another, is a call to service for others, something that has been central to my life. I believe this is a call to service for all of us. . “
The Queen has already spoken of how her own Christian faith was an inspiration and an anchor for her during her 68 year reign.
Holy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper and how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
In her letter, the Queen described the importance of service to her, writing: “It is one of my most rewarding duties as Sovereign to observe this very important ceremony at such an important time on the calendar Christian.
“I know that you, as the recipient of this year’s Maundy gift, will be as deeply disappointed as I am not, while understanding the decision necessary in the current circumstances.
“However, that should not mean that your precious contribution to the community goes unnoticed, and I send this holy gift to thank you for your Christian service. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families during these difficult times. “
Those who receive Maundy gifts are normally over 70 years of age and are appointed by their local dioceses for their exceptional contributions to their local church and community life.
The palace posted photos of the coins and some of the worthy recipients on their social media.
Among them is Thomas Brock of Sunbury-on-Thames, 101, and the oldest active bell ringer in the world.
He rang at his local church, St Mary’s, since the age of seven and the only time he could not be heard ringing was during the Second World War while he was a prisoner of war .
This year, the £ 5 coin in commemorative awards is in recognition of the poet William Wordsworth’s 250th birthday, while the 50 pence coin honors the Great Britain’s Olympic team.