Queen Camilla makes history ahead of Easter©WireImage

Queen Camilla makes royal history ahead of Easter

King Charles attended the service for the first time as monarch last year

Queen Camilla stepped in for her husband King Charles III on Thursday at a service that dates back to 600 AD. Her Majesty made royal history as she distributed the Royal Maundy gifts on behalf of her husband at this year’s Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral.

Queen Camilla attended the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral on March 28©WireImage
Queen Camilla attended the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral on March 28

Earlier this month, the Daily Mail reported that Camilla was poised to “become the first consort to hand over Maundy gifts.” Special Maundy money is distributed every Maundy Thursday—which takes place every year on the Thursday before Easter Sunday— “to local pensioners in a service which commemorates Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles at the Last Supper,” per the royal family’s website.

Last year’s service at York Minster marked King Charles’ first Maundy service as monarch. Although His Majesty was unable to attend this year’s service, he recorded an audio message that was played at the service. The audio recording started with the monarch reading “The First Lesson” (a reading from the Gospel according to John) followed by a personal message.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is, for me, a great sadness that I cannot be with you all today. The Maundy Service has a very special place in my heart,” the King began his message. “It has its origin in the life of Our Lord who knelt before his disciples and, to their great surprise, washed their travel-weary feet. And, as we have just heard, in doing so he deliberately gave to them and to us all an example of how we should serve and care for each other.”

The service happens every year on the Thursday before Easter Sunday©Getty Images
The service happens every year on the Thursday before Easter Sunday

“In this country we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare. But over and above these organizations and their selfless staff, we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need,” His Majesty continued. “The 150 men and women who have been chosen today to receive the Maundy Money from my wife are wonderful examples of such kindness; of going way beyond the call of duty and of giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities. This act of worship, here in Worcester Cathedral, reminds me of the pledge I made at the beginning of the Coronation Service - to follow Christ’s example ‘not to be served but to serve.’ That I have always tried to do and continue to do, with my whole heart. It is my special prayer today that Our Lord’s example of serving one another might continue to inspire us and to strengthen all our communities. May God bless you all this Easter.”

While King Charles, who was diagnosed with a form of cancer this year, did not attend the Royal Maundy Service on March 28, Buckingham Palace has confirmed that His Majesty will attend the Easter Mattins Service on Sunday, March 31, at St. George’s Chapel with Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family.

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