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Queen toasted on Maundy money visit

The Queen received a rapturous welcome in York as she prepared to hand out the traditional Royal Maundy money to pensioners from all over Britain to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

Thousands of well-wishers lined Queen Street and Micklegate and cheered loudly as the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice of York stepped out of the royal car.

Dressed in an aquamarine and grey tweed overcoat and aquamarine hat, the Queen had to touch a ceremonial sword and mace before passing through the 12th century gateway to the walled city, Micklegate Bar.

She met the Lord Mayor David Horton and the town clerk, Kersten England, read out a proclamation of welcome.

The royal party arrived at York Minster in bright sunshine cheered on by thousands of well-wishers. The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice of York, arrived at the Great West Door where they were presented with traditional nosegays.

The Queen's procession included the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu; the Chancellor of the Diocese of York, Judge Peter Collier QC; the Dean of York, the Very Reverend Keith Jones and other dignitaries and officials.

A short time later the Queen began distributing the Maundy gifts to celebrate her 60 years as Monarch. She handed out the money to people from all of the UK's 44 Christian dioceses. Usually, the Maundy money is given to pensioners from one diocese each year. But this year, 86 women and 86 men - one for each of the Queen's 86 years - will receive the money in recognition of their services to the Church and their communities.

The Royal Maundy ceremony traces its origins to the Last Supper when, as St John recorded, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Each recipient receives two purses - one red and one white - in the centuries old tradition. The red purse will contain a £5 coin commemorating The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and a newly minted 50p coin. The white purse will contain uniquely minted Maundy Money of silver one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which equals the Queen's age.

Later, the Queen presented the Lord Mayor with a new "cap of maintenance" during a short ceremony in the Mansion House. Once again huge crowds gathered in the streets outside the building to watch the royal party arrive.

The significance of the hat dates back to 1393, when King Richard II presented the first cap to York and stipulated that it should not be taken off in front of God or King. Traditionally the monarch presents the cap to the City of York, highlighting the city's importance as the cap signifies rank and prestige. The sword bearer knelt in front of the Queen, who then lifted the new cap and presented this to the Lord Mayor.


From Belfast Telegraph