The first Maundy coins to bear the image of King Charles III have been revealed ahead of a special service at York Minster where His Majesty will distribute them in a tradition that stretches back centuries.
The King will hand out Maundy money to 74 men and 74 women, one for each year of his age. They will be given a red purse, containing a special £5 coin and 50p piece, and a white purse, filled with specially minted coins to the value of 74 pence, one penny for each year of King Charles III’s age.
The first Maundy money of the new reign has been unveiled just hours before it is distributed.
King Charles, accompanied by Queen Camilla, will hand out the coins in York in a ceremony led by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.
The Maundy service draws inspiration from the events of the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Kings and queens used to wash the feet of the poor and distribute alms to them. The tradition of feet washing disappeared in the 18th century but the giving of money remains.
Since the reign of Henry IV, in the early 15th century, English monarchs have presented Maundy coins to a number of people that matches their age. In the reign of King Charles II, specially minted money was first created and that tradition continues today.
Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint said ”The Royal Mint has struck every single coin, known as Maundy Money, for each ceremony since the reign of Charles II. Following Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s death, this year’s Maundy coins will see His Majesty King Charles III’s official coin portrait appear on them for the very first time. This will the first time King Charles III will be issuing his own Maundy Money marking a significant moment in history.”
King Charles presented Maundy money in 2022 on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.