THE Prince of Wales today distributed Maundy money to community stalwarts from across the country, including a centenarian from Alresford, as he represented the Queen at the ancient ritual for the first time.

Charles followed the tradition of presenting Maundy coins to those who have provided Christian service to the elderly, worked tirelessly during the pandemic or been a comfort to those in need, during the service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

The Queen, who has been experiencing mobility issues, was missing. Buckingham Palace announced on Friday she would not attend and be represented by the prince and Duchess of Cornwall.

Charles presented Maundy money to William Sanderson, aged 101, who after joining a missionary fellowship has spent more than 70 years either working or supporting in his retirement the distribution of bibles and Christian books around the world.

Born in Scotland but now living in Alresford, William, who served as an RAF mechanic during World War Two, said he was “just from an ordinary working class background” and to receive the coins from Charles was “overwhelming”.

“It’s something I could never have believed possible, I couldn’t even have hoped for. To be in the presence of royalty here in Windsor is just overwhelming. I’m not usually speechless, but I’m really lost for words now.”

READ MORE HERE: Prince Charles visits Licoricia statue in Winchester

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, speaking in his role as Lord High Almoner, said the Queen had a copy of the order of service and a list of Maundy money recipients and details about them.

He told the congregation: “She’s close by and would want me to extend to you her greetings.”

The Queen is expected to miss another traditional event of Easter, the Sunday service attended by the royal family.

It is a staple in the royal calendar but the monarch will not join other members of the monarchy at St George’s Chapel.

During the service, Charles handed out the Maundy coins to 96 men and 96 women – as the Queen will be 96 this year, celebrating her birthday on April 21.

The heir to the throne walked along the lines of recipients saying a few words of thanks to each one and clasping their hand with both of his.

Muriel Davies, 99, who served in the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War, was recognised for her 50 years of fundraising for the RNLI in her home town of Bolton.

She said after the service: “It was lovely meeting Prince Charles, he said ‘it’s your birthday, I wish you a happy birthday for July – it’s lovely that you’re here today’.”

Mrs Davies will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 9 and, when asked if she missed the Queen, she joked about Charles deputising, saying: “I was glad to see anybody”

The 99-year-old said she was “honoured” to receive Maundy money and, speaking about her efforts collecting for the RNLI, she said charity boxes were left in pubs and clubs in Bolton, and quipped: “They fill them up and I empty them.”

Commenting on the importance of fundraising for the RNLI, she added: “Because it’s a good charity and water’s so dangerous, I know that fire is as well, but water is very dangerous – saving lives at sea is worth helping.”

SEE ALSO: Winchester district pub named as one of the best in the region

Each of the elderly recipients received two purses, one red and one white.

The white purse is filled with uniquely minted Maundy money – silver 10p and 3p pieces – to the value of 96 pence.

In the red pouch is a £5 coin and a 50p coin portraying the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Both coins have been newly minted this year.

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.

Following tradition, Charles and Camilla were presented with nosegays – sweet-smelling bouquets – which in centuries past were used to ward off unpleasant smells, and before leaving posed for a picture with the clergy and ceremonial units that took part.

Message from the editor Kimberley Barber

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.