In a tradition dating back to the medieval period, every year on Maundy Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II visits a church or cathedral for a special service in which she presents local pensioners with Maundy money. This year, the Queen was due to go to St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, but, due to the special measures in place to protect people from Covid-19, has sent letters to those who were due to receive the Maundy gifts at the special service, along with their special Maundy coins.
This is what the Queen wrote:
"I have great pleasure in sending you the Maundy Gift which, unfortunately, I am unable to distribute to you personally at the Royal Maundy Service in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on Thursday, 9th April.
This ancient Christian ceremony, which reflects Jesus’s instruction to his disciples to love one another, is a call to the service of others, something that has been at the centre of my life.
I believe it is a call to service for all of us.
It is one of my most rewarding duties as Sovereign to observe this highly significant ceremony at such an important point in the Christian calendar.
I know that you, as a Recipient of this year’s Maundy Gift, will be as deeply disappointed as I am that it is not going ahead, while understanding the necessary decision in the current circumstances.
However, this should not mean your invaluable contribution within the community goes unnoticed, and I am sending this Maundy Gift to thank you for your Christian service.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families at this difficult time.
With my best wishes to you this Easter."
Click here to find out more about how Maundy Thursday was marked in Tudor times.