A curious feature of the ceremony is that there are always present four children, who, like the clergy, wear white scarves and carry white flowers. These represent the Children of the Royal Almonry, four old men, who prior to 1808 had the right of providing the towels, and of afterwards selling them, and who were paid £21 for participating in the ceremony. When the charity was recognised their office was abolished, and real children were substituted.
The chidren received five guineas annually, from the age of seven to fourteen years, for their education, and were also given a fee of 5s each for their attendance at the distribution of maundy money.
The Royal maundy Service 1898
King Edward V111 at the maundy ceremony on the 9th April 1936.
King Edward took part in the ceremony of distributing maundy money at Westminster Abbey.This was the second time in 200 years that a King had himself attended the ceremony.
1936 Press Cuttings
1949 Maundy Service
Original Press Photo
1951 Maundy Service
Press photograph of Queen Elizabeth 11 at her first public engagement as Queen,distributing the maundy money at Westminster Abbey in 1952.
Original press photograph - 1952 Maundy Service
1952 press article
1953 Maundy Service.
The Queen being received by the Dean of St Pauls cathedral.In the rear is the Duke of Edinburgh.
This was the Queens first public engagement since the death of Queen Mary.
Following the ceremony the Royal couple left London to return to Windsor.
Original Press Photo 2nd April 1953
1953 Maundy ceremony.
1957 Maundy Service
The Queen and the Duke carrying the traditional posies of sweet herbs ( an ancient precaution against infection ),pictured with the clergy and children representing recipients of the Royal Maundy after the Maundy thursday service at St Albans Abbey,Hertfordshire.
In the background are members of the Queens bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard.
This was the first time since the days of Charles11 that the sovereign had distributed money outside of London.
It was also the first time the money had been given at the 11th Century Abbey.
Thirty One men and 31 wome,as many as the sovereign has years, received the specially minted silver coins.
In addition they received payment in lieu of food and clothing previously distributed.
Original Press Photo 18th April 1957
1959 Maundy Ceremony St Georges Chapel
1962 Princess Margaret at the maundy ceremony.
1970 maundy service
1997 maundy Service
2004 Maundy Service
The Royal Maundy ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral in 2004 .
2006 Maundy service.
The ceremony was held at Guildford Cathedral in 2006 .
Photographs from the 2008 maundy service.
2009 Maundy service - at St Edmundsbury Cathedral Suffolk
2009 Maundy service - The queen handing out the maundy money