Eugenie joins Queen at Maundy Thursday service
Princess Eugenie is believed to have taken part in her first official joint engagement with the Queen, supporting her grandmother as she distributed money to community stalwarts.
The event was a milestone for Eugenie, who looked relaxed as she returned to her wedding venue – St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle – for the annual Maundy Thursday service.
The princess was following in the footsteps of the Duchess of Sussex, who accompanied the Queen for their first joint engagement last summer, and the Duchess of Cambridge, who carried out only her second joint event with the Queen in March.
The head of state has been joined at official events by various members of her family since the Duke of Edinburgh retired from public duties in 2017.
Philip was reportedly spotted in the grounds of Windsor Castle driving for the first time since voluntarily surrendering his licence after being involved in a dramatic car crash that left two women injured in January.
Although the duke has given up driving on public roads, he is still legally allowed to drive around private royal estates.
When the Queen arrived at the chapel’s north door with her granddaughter, they were presented with traditional nosegays – which in ancient times warded off unpleasant smells – before taking their seats at the head of the congregation.
The Queen wore a buttercup-coloured Stewart Parvin outfit, a matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan and an Australian wattle brooch, while her granddaughter was dressed in a floral dress by Erdem.
Eugenie’s sister Princess Beatrice accompanied the Queen and Philip during the 2012 Maundy Service held in York during the monarch’s diamond jubilee year.
Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the apostles.
During the service, the Queen distributed Maundy money to 93 men and 93 women – as she will be 93 this year, celebrating her birthday on Sunday.
Each recipient got two purses, one red and one white.
Those who received alms were retired pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of service to the Church and to the local community.
The Queen walked down lines of recipients and handed each a red purse containing a £5 coin, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria, and a 50p coin portraying Sherlock Holmes.
Both coins have been newly minted this year.
Historically, the sum of £5.50 in the red purse is made up of £3 for clothing, £1.50 in lieu of provisions, and £1 which represents a piece of the sovereign’s gown which, before Tudor times, used to be divided between the recipients.
The Queen also presented them with a white purse containing uniquely minted Maundy money – one, two, three and four silver penny pieces – to the value of 93p.
The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which originated in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples the day before Good Friday.
Before leaving, the Queen met some of the posy children who carried nosegays as the monarch presented money, then she posed for a group picture outside with Eugenie, clergy and ceremonial figures.