CIVIC, church and tourism leaders have hailed news that the Queen will visit York in April to distribute Maundy Money.

The Lord Mayor, Coun David Horton, who announced the royal visit yesterday at a breakfast launch for the York 800 celebrations, said how “honoured and delighted” he was that the Queen would be coming in such an important year, both for her personally and for the city.

He said: “York has a long association with the British monarchy and I’m sure residents will provide a fitting welcome for the Queen.”

As reported on The Press website yesterday morning, the monarch is expected to enter the city in traditional fashion at Micklegate Bar, where she will be greeted by the Lord Mayor and York’s first female town clerk – council chief executive Kersten England – and then go to the Minster for the service.

The Dean of York, the Very Reverend Keith Jones, said staff at the cathedral were “thrilled” the Queen had decided to distribute the Royal Maundy there in her Diamond Jubilee Year.

“The Queen has asked that representatives from all over the United Kingdom should be included in the Royal Maundy this year, alongside the recipients from the Diocese of York, and there will be a special air of thanksgiving for her long reign,” said the Dean, who retires only weeks after the service.

“There is so much excitement centred on London this year that it’s great that York will once again be the place for this Royal and beautiful ceremony.”

He said the last time the Queen distributed the Royal Maundy in York was in 1972. “This year Her Majesty’s visit also coincides with the 800th anniversary of the granting of the City of York’s charter, which adds to our delight.”

York council leader James Alexander said he was “delighted and honoured” the Queen had chosen to visit York in her Diamond Jubilee year, while York Outer MP Julian Sturdy said: “I am sure the people of York will flock to welcome Her Majesty and hopefully this event will further support efforts to make 2012 a year to remember for our great city.”

York Central MP Hugh Bayley also welcomed the announcement. He said: “It’s well-known that the Queen’s father, George VI, said: ‘The history of York is the history of England’, so it’s fitting that the Queen is going to mark the city’s 800th anniversary by visiting it and distributing Maundy Money.”

Gillian Cruddas, chief executive of Visit York, said it was a great honour for York that the Queen had chosen to visit the city in her Diamond Jubilee Year.

“York has many royal connections which are ever popular with visitors and the Queen’s visit is sure to add another boost to this exciting year of events and celebrations for the city,” she said.

Meanwhile, the council is urging residents to hold a street party this summer to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or York 800.

The authority has produced information on how to organise such an event, which will be available online at or

Coun Sonja Crisp, leisure and culture Cabinet member, said she hoped residents would enter into the spirit of a fun-packed summer by holding their own street party.

A council spokeswoman said that to make it easier for residents to get involved, the authority would be waiving the charge normally associated with processing road closure requests and associated legal notices.

The monarch’s Maundy Money visit of 1972

York Press: The Queen standing on the steps of York Minster on March 30, 1972

The Queen standing on the steps of York Minster on March 30, 1972

THE monarch shivered when she arrived at the Minster on a chilly March day in 1972 – the last time she came to York to distribute the Maundy Money. She later told people she was feeling the cold after a recent Far Eastern tour.

The pageantry inside the cathedral was colourful, with most of the women in the congregation wearing Easter straw hats sporting scarlet roses – a colour repeated in the medieval uniforms of the Yeoman of the Guard, the choir surplices and the robes of the Aldermen and the Archbishop of York, Dr Donald Coggan. Forty-six men and the same number of women – the number reflecting the Queen’s age at the time – received the money in coloured purses.

Recipients later told The Press they were determined not to sell their coins, while one 72-year-old man said he was going off to have a pint, and toast the Queen before he went home.

Did you or your relative receive Maundy Money in York? Email or phone 01904 567132.

Further royal visit pictures are available via our photo sales website.

Origins of Maundy Money tradition

EVERY year at Easter, The Queen presents special Maundy Money to pensioners in a UK cathedral or abbey, in recognition of their service to their community and church.

Maundy Thursday commemorates the day of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, with the word “Maundy” coming from the command or “mandatum” by Christ to love one another.

The tradition of the Sovereign giving money to the poor dates from the 13th century, when the monarch also gave food and clothing, and even washed the recipients’ feet, but that tradition died out after James II.

Since the 15th century, the number of Maundy coins handed out, and the number of people receiving them, has been related to the Sovereign’s age, so there were 85 male and 85 female recipients at Westminster Abbey last year, who received a white purse containing 85p in Maundy coins and a red purse containing a £5 coin and a 50p piece.

The coins have remained in much the same form since 1670, traditionally struck in sterling silver.

While the Queen’s face on ordinary coins has changed three times, Maundy coins still bear the portrait used for the first ones issued in the year of her coronation in 1953.

The Maundy Service used to take place in London, but early in her reign The Queen decided it should go to a different venue every year.