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The Queen reveals sadness over cancelled Easter plans

The monarch traditionally attends a special service

queen maundy thursday
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Queen has revealed her sadness over this year's cancelled Maundy Thursday service amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, the monarch would meet the recipients in-person at a church service, where she would distribute the specially-minted coins, known as the Maundy Gift.

Like last year, the Maundy Gift and a letter from the Queen have been delivered to recipients by post instead.

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The monarch wrote: "I am sure you will be sad, as I am, that present circumstances make it impossible for that service to take place. I hope however that this Maundy Gift will remind you for years to come that your efforts have been truly appreciated."

The 190 recipients are pensioners, one man and one woman for each of the Queen's 95 years, who have been recognised by their dioceses for their outstanding contributions to their local church and community life. 

Each recipient receives two purses, one red and one white, which have been blessed by the Sub-Dean at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace. This year's coins have been newly minted to commemorate Her Majesty's 95th birthday in April and the 50th anniversary of Decimal Day. 

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queen eugenie maundy thursday© Photo: Getty Images

Princess Eugenie accompanied the Queen at the 2019 Maundy Thursday service

The Queen opened her letter by thanking the recipients, writing: "I am delighted to send you the Maundy Gift which I hope you will accept as an expression of my personal thanks to you for all that you have done to enrich the life of your community."

At the last in-person Maundy Thursday service in 2019, Her Majesty was accompanied by her granddaughter, Princess Eugenie.

On Wednesday, the monarch carried out her first public outing of 2021, travelling to Runnymede in Surrey to mark the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force at the CWGC Air Forces Memorial.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been residing for much of the past year at Windsor Castle during the pandemic.

The last time the Queen made an in-person appearance was in December when senior members of the royal family gathered at Windsor Castle to thank key workers. 

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