Royalty and statesmen

The traditional handing out of Maundy money commemorates the biblical story of Jesus washing his disciples' feet at the Last Supper. From 1689, rather than wash the feet of subjects, the monarch gave them gifts of coins
Photo: Rex
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Buckingham Palace believes 107-year-old Kathleen Grimswood, one of this year's recipients, is probably the oldest person ever to participate in the Easter ceremony
Photo: Rex

Queen delights 107-year-old pensioner with Maundy gift

10 APRIL 2009
In the course of her 107 years Kathleen Grimwood must have lived through many eventful experiences but, even so, her record-breaking meeting with the Queen surely ranks as one of the highlights.

The pensioner smiled with delight when she became the oldest person ever to receive Maundy money from the monarch during a service at the cathedral in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

"It was lovely," said the former school matron, who in the past has received four telegrams from the Queen.

Each Maundy Thursday the day before Good Friday - the sovereign hands specially minted Maundy coins to selected subjects in a custom dating back to the 13th century. Nowadays the money usually goes to people nominated for service to the community.

This year, the Queen, who was dressed for the occasion in a jaunty turquoise coat with a matching hat, gave coins to 83 women and 83 men - one male and one female recipient for each year of her life.

Each pensioner received a red purse containing a 5 coin celebrating the 500th anniversary of the accession of Henry VIII, and a 50p coin to celebrate the founding of Kew Gardens. They were also given a white purse containing 83p in Maundy coins.

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