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The King hands out his first Maundy money

06 April 2023

Alamy

The King distributes the Maundy Money during the Royal Maundy service in York Minster on Thursday. With him is the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, Lord High Almoner since 2013

The King distributes the Maundy Money during the Royal Maundy service in York Minster on Thursday. With him is the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, ...

THE King distributed his first Maundy Money in York Minster on Thursday.

The King, who attended the service of the Royal Maundy with the Queen Consort, gave the specially minted coins to 74 men and 74 women, the number referring to his age.

The Dean of York, the Very Revd Dominic Barrington, told the BBC: “Taking place in Holy Week, this historic service symbolises humility, care, kindness and appreciation of others. The King’s Maundy gift will be a moment of celebration and thanksgiving for 148 exceptional people who have made an impact in their communities.”

Each recipient was given two purses. A white purse contained Maundy coins equivalent in value to the King’s age. The red purse contained two commemorative coins, one to mark the King’s forthcoming 75th birthday, the other to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of West Indian workers on the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks, in Essex, and their contribution to multi-racial Britain.

Buckingham Palace has said that the King is supporting a thorough investigation of possible links between past monarchs and the slave trade. On Thursday, The Guardian published a document showing the transfer of £1000-worth of shares in the Royal Africa Company from Edward Colston, the Bristol merchant and slave-trader, whose statue was toppled by anti-racism protesters in 2020 (News, 12 June 2020).

A Palace spokesperson said that a Ph.D. project by Camilla de Koning, looking at links with the slave trade, was under way, and that she was being given full access to the Royal Archives and the Royal Collection.

The King wants to continue his pledge to deepen his understanding of slavery’s impact with “vigour and determination”, the spokesperson said.

“This is an issue that His Majesty takes profoundly seriously. Given the complexities of the issues, it is important to explore them as thoroughly as possible.”

Last year, the Church Commissioners disclosed evidence that Queen Anne’s Bounty, one of their founding funds, had associations with slave-trading (News, 16 June 2022). The discovery led to the proposed setting up of a £100-million “impact investment fund” (News, 10 January) to be used overseas to “address some of the past wrongs” in which the Church was therefore implicated.

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