Today in York, King Charles III and Queen Camilla attended the first Royal Maundy service of his reign, and Camilla brought along a piece of jewelry linked to the late Queen Mother.
This year’s Royal Maundy service was held in York Minster. The service celebrates Maundy Thursday (called “Holy Thursday” in some traditions), a commemoration of the Last Supper. At the service, the monarch distributes pouches of Maundy money, specially minted coins, to recipients chosen for their contributions to their communities.
The official royal website explains, “The King will present each recipient with two purses: one red and one white. The white purse will contain a set of specially minted silver Maundy coins equivalent in value to the age of the Monarch. The red purse will contain two commemorative coins, symbolising the Sovereign’s historic gift of food and clothing. This year, one will celebrate His Majesty’s forthcoming 75th birthday and the other will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Windrush Generation.”
Charles and Camilla signed a guest book at the cathedral on a special small table.
For several years in a row, the Royal Maundy service was held at St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, a concession to the late Queen Elizabeth II’s increasing difficulty with lengthy travel. But the service has traditionally been held at different churches and cathedrals throughout the United Kingdom, and this year the royals were back on the road for the service in York.
Like many royal events, the service was canceled on more than one occasion because of the pandemic. The late Queen Elizabeth II last attended the Royal Maundy service in Windsor in April 2019. She wore the Australian Wattle Brooch.
Last year, when he was still Prince of Wales, Charles stepped in for his mother and handed out the Maundy money during the service at St. George’s Chapel.
So he was already experienced when he handed out the small purses this year in York to recipients like Olga Thompson (who wore some gorgeous pearls and fabulous earrings—and a brooch!—for the service).
Queen Camilla also got the brooch memo this year, wearing one with her navy and white ensemble for the service.
Her jewels were fairly subtle, set with diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies, rock crystal, and black enamel.
The stud portion of the earring features a large sapphire set in a cluster of rubies and diamonds. This close-up view is from the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March.
For the Royal Maundy service, Camilla paired the earrings with a 1920s-era brooch from the collection of the late Queen Mother.
Elizabeth wore the brooch in the 1920s when she was Duchess of York. Here, she has it pinned to her hat during the 1927 royal tour of Australia.
Camilla has been wearing the brooch for several years. It’s part of the collection of the late Queen Mother’s jewelry that she began wearing after becoming Duchess of Cornwall in 2005.
Queen Camilla notably wore it the brooch during the mourning period for the late Queen Elizabeth II. Here, she wears it during a walkabout outside Clarence House on September 10, two days after the late monarch’s death.
She also wore it for a pair of engagements early in November: her first official audience (with Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho) at Buckingham Palace, and a tour of the Africa Fashion exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
For Thursday’s service, Camilla also wore her usual bracelets and necklace, which features a pair of charms (a Kiki McDonough Apollo charm and a disc engraved with the initials of her grandchildren).
This is our usually scheduled Friday morning article—I’ve just put it up early for all of you. We’ll be back here on Saturday morning with some more throwback coronation sparkle!