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Office for Royal Maundy

Thursday, 21st April 2011

Office for Royal Maundy

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended the Office for the Royal Maundy at Westminster Abbey on Maundy Thursday, 21st April 2011.

This 801st known Royal Maundy Service fell on The Sovereign’s birthday and this year the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, together with the Dean of Westminster were invited to nominate Maundy recipients.

Thus people from England, the Isle of Man and across Europe made up the eighty five men and eighty five women who received their Maundy Gifts from The Queen on Her Majesty’s eighty-fifth birthday.

The distribution of Alms and the washing of the feet on the Thursday of Holy Week are of great antiquity. The Maundy can be traced back in England with certainty to the 12th century, and there are continuous records of the Distribution having been made on Maundy Thursday from the reign of King Edward I.

The first known Royal Distribution from records we have at present was at Knaresborough, North Yorkshire by King John in 1210. The Service derives its name from the Latin word mandatum, meaning a commandment, and its opening words are, ‘Jesus said: ‘I give you a new commandment.’

The Right Reverend Robert Paterson, Bishop of Sodor and Man read John 13: 1-15 and The Duke of Edinburgh read Matthew 25: 31-46.

Prayers were led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall and said by the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols (Roman Catholic) Archbishop of Westminster; the Right Reverend Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe and the Reverend Michael Macey, Minor Canon Westminster.

The service was sung by the Choirs of Westminster Abbey and of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers of the Abbey, and Dr Andrew Gant, Organist, Choirmaster and Composer of the Chapel Royal.

The State Trumpeters of the Blues and Royals were present, led by Captain Jason Griffiths. The Fanfare Trumpeters of the Band of the Welsh Guards were led Major Stephen Barnwell. The organ was played Robert Quinney, Sub-Organist of Westminster Abbey. James McVinnie, Assistant Organist of the Abbey and Huw Williams, Sub-Organist of the Chapel Royal played before the service.

BBC 1 broadcast the service live.

See also:

The Order of Service (PDF, 203KB)

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