The Queen will be in Oxford on 28th March for the annual tradition of handing out Maundy money to elderly locals.
Christ Church Cathedral will this year host the annual ceremony which sees the monarch give out Maundy coins to pensioners to thank them for their contribution to the community and Church. This will be the first time Christ Church cathedral has hosted the occasion.
Every year the Queen visits a major cathedral or abbey in the UK to hand out the coins, which this year will be given to 174 people.
The Very Reverend Christopher Lewis, Dean of Christ Church, said: “It is great news that Her Majesty is coming to Oxford’s Cathedral at Christ Church for this profound service. The Queen will distribute Maundy money to 87 men and 87 women – two recipients for each year of the Queen’s life.
“The recipients, who must be over 70 years old, have been nominated from all over the diocese of Oxford in recognition of their service to the church and the local community.”
The name ‘Maundy’ is understood to derive from the mandatum or instruction of Jesus that his followers should love one another. British monarchs or a royal official have honoured this commandment since the first recorded instance of the occasion in 1213 by giving out symbolic coins to elderly people.
According to the Diocese of Oxford, the act of the Queen giving money “derives from Jesus’s commandment at the Last Supper that his followers should love one another”.
The Very Reverend Lewis elaborated on the religious significance of the day: “Maundy Thursday is the day when we remember Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and sharing his last meal with them, so the Queen’s visit will be a central part of the way in which the Cathedral marks the day.”
Queen Elizabeth II has been absent from the ceremony only four times in her reign. In 2012 the Maundy money consisted of two purses – a white purse containing 86p in Maundy coins and a red purse containing a £5 coin and a 50p piece. The coins are legal tender but do not circulate because of their silver content and unique value.
The current Queen is also responsible for the decision to hold the service in a different location every year; prior to her reign it was always held in London.
Many students were enthusiastic that the Queen would be recognising the city in this way. A St John’s fresher commented: “Oxford is an important city and the queen is just beautiful. She’s been a real rock for the country and the fact she’s still visiting important cities and showing people her support is just great.”