- The Royal Mint has unveiled His Majesty King Charles III’s official Maundy Money.
- This year was King Charles III’s first official Royal Maundy Ceremony as King; the ceremony took place at York Minster.
- The Maundy Ceremony saw 74 men and 74 women receive Maundy coins produced by The Royal Mint, given by the King, signifying the number of years he has been alive.
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For the first time, King Charles III’s official portrait was featured on Maundy coin denominations.
The Royal Mint, the official maker of coins for the United Kingdom, unveiled His Majesty King Charles III’s official Maundy Money as he embarks on his first official Royal Maundy ceremony, held at York Minster, after representing Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the 2022 service.
Continuing with longstanding tradition, 74 men and 74 women received coins from the King, signifying the age of the monarch. The practice of relating the number of recipients of Maundy coins to the sovereign’s age began with Henry IV. The custom has been upheld by the sovereign since. For the 2022 Maundy Ceremony, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gifted Maundy Money to 96 men and 96 women with King Charles III, then the Prince of Wales, distributing them on her behalf.
Each person received two purses. One purse is made from white leather, holding coins to the value in pence of King Charles III’s age. The other purse is made from red leather, containing a £5 and 50p. These are the first Maundy coins of the King’s reign.
The Royal Maundy ceremony is held on the Thursday before Easter and drew inspiration from Jesus Christ and the commandment he gave after washing his disciples’ feet. This commandment or ‘mandatum’ meant that by the fourth century, monarchs would wash the feet of the poor and hand out gifts of food and clothing.
Each year The Royal Mint produces a limited number of Maundy coins for distribution by the monarch. The silver one, two, three, and four pence coins are all legal tender, but are not intended for everyday use. Maundy Money is only ever used on Maundy Thursday when it is given by the monarch to the selected group of men and women. This is the first time King Charles III will feature on Maundy coins, with them showcasing a portrait of Her Late Majesty the Queen, sculpted by Mary Gillick, and first seen on coins issued in her Coronation year, 1953.
Chris Barker, Information and Research Manager at The Royal Mint Museum, said:
“The custom of using Maundy Money specially struck by The Royal Mint started in 1662 in the reign of Charles II. The coins included a four penny, three penny, two penny, and one penny piece. By 1670, the King started giving out a dated set of all four coins.
The tradition of the King or Queen washing the feet of the poor faded out in the 18th century, but they still gave people food and clothing. By the 19th century, the tradition had changed again, and the monarch simply gave people Maundy Money.”
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 is the first time King Charles III has issued his own Maundy Money, marking a significant moment in history.
As well as a continuation of a long-standing tradition associated with the monarchy, this year’s Maundy Money symbolizes the United Kingdom’s change in monarchy, and we are delighted to have been a part of the occasion.”
Historic Maundy coins dating from 1786 to 1996 are available to purchase via The Royal Mint website – Maundy Money. These coins would have initially been gifted as part of a Maundy ceremony, making them extremely unique and rare.