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Why does the Queen hand out money on Maundy Thursday?

 

The Queen has attended a special service at Leicester Cathedral in celebration of Maundy Thursday. Her Majesty, accompanied by Prince Philip, observed the historical tradition of handing out Maundy Money to a group of 91 men and 91 women for the local community. But what is the tradition of Maundy Thursday, and why do people receive special coins? Maundy Thursday always takes place on the Thursday before Easter Sunday – the day on which Christians celebrate Jesus’ Last Supper. The Queen marks it by giving out special silver coins, known as ‘Maundy Money’ to local pensioners.

The number of recipients reflects the monarch’s age, and she travels to a different cathedral of abbey nearly every year to distribute the coins. The people who are chosen to receive the money have been recommended by clergy or ministers in recognition for the services to the church or local community. Each recipient receives two purses – one red, and one white. This year, the red purse contained a £5 coin, commemorating the Centenary of the House of Windsor, and a 50p coin commemorating Sir Isaac Newton. The white purse held uniquely minted money in one, two, three and four penny pieces, which equals 91 pence. While the money is legal tender, recipients usually prefer to hold on to the coins as a souvenir.

According to the Royal Mint, the custom of members of the royal family taking part in Maundy services dates back as early as the 13th century, when they gave out gifts and money, and even took part in foot-washing ceremonies to symbolise Jesus’ display of humility when he washed the feet of his disciples.

“Henry IV began the practice of relating the number of recipients of gifts to the sovereign’s age, and as it became the custom of the sovereign to perform the ceremony, the event became known as the Royal Maundy,” the website explains. “In the eighteenth century the act of washing the feet of the poor was discontinued and in the nineteenth century money allowances were substituted for the various gifts of food and clothing.”

“Maundy Money as such started in the reign of Charles II with an undated issue of hammered coins in 1662. The coins were a four penny, three penny, two penny and one penny piece but it was not until 1670 that a dated set of all four coins appeared. Prior to this, ordinary coinage was used for Maundy gifts, silver pennies alone being used by the Tudors and Stuarts for the ceremony.”

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The Queen is hiring – New curtain maker wanted

 

 

The Queen is hiring a royal cushion and curtain maker. The chosen applicant will work in 1,000 rooms across Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and St James’s Palace, helping to create and maintain the bespoke soft furnishings in all three royal residences. The Royal Household has advertised the full-time position online, telling prospective employees that it is their chance to leave their mark on “some of the most famous houses in the world”.

According to the job description, the ideal candidate will be an expert in machine and hand stitching, with extensive experience in the field, “outstanding” practical skills and an ability to meet “challenging” deadlines. “It’s knowing your curtains add the finishing touches to state rooms,” it reads. “It’s protecting heritage by leaving your own legacy. And it’s furnishing some of the most famous house in the world. That’s what makes working for the Royal Household exceptional.”

The advert continues: “Your challenge will be to provide curtains and soft furnishings that will maintain the presentation and functionality of these unique environments. You’ll manage and deliver multiple soft furnishings projects, designing new items, estimating materials, costs and timings, and cutting fabrics. From tailoring furniture covers, to creating new curtain to scale the heights of state room, you’ll consistently aim for the highest standards.

“Working with numerous historic items, you’ll survey and evaluate the condition of furnishings, prioritising work to both repair and preserve items, whilst also meeting the operational needs of working Royal residences. You’ll carefully record all your handlings of historic furnishings, as well as keeping workrooms in good condition, fully equipped and stocked. The range of projects will stretch you. And knowing that you’re conserving and creating magnificent items that will be enjoyed by future generations will give you the greatest sense of reward.”

The starting salary for the position is £22,000 per annum, plus 15 per cent employer contribution pension scheme and benefits. Closing date for applicants is 6 April. Vacancies are frequently posted on the Royal Household website. Other positions currently advertised include a £24,000-a-year secretarial assistant based at Buckingham Palace, and a £18,000-a-year assistant gardener to help maintain the grounds of Bagshot Park, home to Prince Edward and his family.

 

 

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