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Episode 2518             Episode 2520
Episode 2519

Royal Maundy
Thu, 2024-Mar-28 00:44 UTC
Length - 4:06

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Thursday, 28 March 2024 is Royal Maundy.

Royal Maundy () is a religious service in the Church of England held on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday. At the service, the British monarch or a royal official ceremonially distributes small silver coins known as "Maundy money" (legally, "the King's Maundy money") as symbolic alms to elderly recipients. The coins are technically legal tender, but typically do not circulate due to their silver content and numismatic value. A small sum of ordinary money is also given in lieu of gifts of clothing and food that the sovereign once bestowed on Maundy recipients.

The name "Maundy" and the ceremony itself derive from an instruction, or mandatum, of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper that his followers should love one another. In the Middle Ages, English monarchs washed the feet of beggars in imitation of Jesus, and presented gifts and money to the poor. Over time, additional money was substituted for the clothing and other items that had once been distributed. Beginning in 1699 the monarch did not attend the service, sending an official in his place. The custom of royal representatives washing the feet of beggars did not survive the 18th century.

In 1931 Princess Marie Louise was at Royal Maundy, and afterwards suggested that her cousin, King George V, make the distributions the following year. He did so, beginning a new royal custom. Traditionally, the service was held in or near London, in most years in the early to mid–20th century at Westminster Abbey; the service is now held in a different church (usually a cathedral) every year. Queen Elizabeth II almost always attended (she was absent only five times in her reign). Recipients were once chosen for their poverty and were entitled to remain as Maundy recipients for life; today new recipients are chosen every year for service to their churches or communities, on the recommendation of clergymen of various Christian denominations. Generally, recipients live in the diocese where the service is held, although this was altered for the 2011 and 2012 services. The 2020 and 2021 services were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with recipients sent their gifts by post. At the 2024 service, Queen Camilla is to attend in place of her husband, King Charles III, following his diagnosis of cancer.

Maundy money is struck in denominations of one penny, two pence, three pence, and four pence. Until the 18th century the coins given were from the circulating coinage, and it was not until the latter half of the century that the four Maundy coins developed as distinct, noncirculating pieces. The obverse design of the coins features the reigning monarch. The reverse, with a crowned numeral enclosed by a wreath, derives from a design first used during the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II, and which has been virtually unaltered since 1822. The coins are presented in two leather purses, a white one containing coins to the value of the same number of pence as the years of the monarch's age, and a red purse containing a £5 and a 50p coin. In most years there are fewer than 2,000 complete sets of Maundy money; they are highly sought after by collectors.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:44 UTC on Thursday, 28 March 2024.

For the full current version of the article, see Royal Maundy on Wikipedia.

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Until next time, I'm Joey Standard.

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