|PHIL NOBLE/AFP/Getty Images
Every year on the Thursday before Easter (which, depending on your location and denomination, is called Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday), Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom attends a church service and distributes a small amount of money to a select group of congregants.
The tradition of Royal Maundy dates back to the seventeenth-century reign of Charles II. The idea behind it, though, goes back even further than that; it stems from the mandate (hence, “maundy”) that Jesus gave to his apostles at the Last Supper that they should care for each other. In eras past, that instruction was carried out through the symbolic washing of subjects’ feet, a practice that eventually evolved into the distribution of clothing and then of special coins.
Today, the monarch gives out small bags holding specially-minted silver coins to retirees who have been selected because they have done remarkable acts of service in their communities. The service is an important part of the present Queen’s devotional life, and she’s only missed it a handful of times in her six decades on the throne. Here’s a look at some of the brooches she’s worn at Royal Maundy over the years.
|1965: Wearing the Dorset Bow Brooch at Canterbury Cathedral (STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
|2002: Wearing the Australian Wattle Brooch at Canterbury Cathedral (FIONA HANSON/AFP/Getty Images)
|2003: Wearing the Jardine Star Brooch at Gloucester Cathedral (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
|2004: Wearing the Cullinan V Brooch at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral (PHIL NOBLE/AFP/Getty Images)
|2005: Wearing the Jardine Star Brooch at Wakefield Cathedral (JOHN GILES/AFP/Getty Images)
|2006: Wearing Queen Adelaide’s Brooch at Guildford Cathedral (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
|2008: Wearing the Queen Mother’s Ruby Bouquet Brooch at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh (PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
|2009: Wearing the Queen Mother’s Palm Leaf Brooch at St Edmundsbury Cathedral (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
|2010: Wearing Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Brooch at Derby Cathedral (Darren Staples/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
|2011: Wearing the Jardine Star Brooch at Westminster Abbey (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
|2012: Wearing the Jardine Star Brooch at York Minster (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
|2013: Wearing the Albert Brooch at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford (Kirsty Wigglesworth – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
|2014: Wearing the Double Blossom Diamond Brooch at Blackburn Cathedral (Jack Hill – WPA Pool /Getty Images)
|2015: Wearing the Mappin and Webb Orchid Brooch at Sheffield Cathedral (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
|2016: Wearing one of Queen Victoria’s Bow Brooches at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)