York Minster, Maundy Thursday, 6 April 2023.
I had the honour to be chosen to receive the Royal Maundy Money this year, and after all the arrangements were made by Buckingham Palace, my niece Wanda and I traveled to York. Wanda and I had to get to the Minster by about 9.30am, having booked a taxi – which could only get within 150 or so yards, due to road closures – we arrived at the South door entrance and joined the queue to get through police security.
The massive organ was played all through the waiting, with the Minster bells ringing a quarter peal of Grandsire Cinques. We were then seated in the south aisle – I was no 59– and waited until 11am, when the many processions started. There must have been over 100 ministers, officials and Minster staff, followed by various Bishops and choir. Last of all came King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla and The Royal Almonory procession.
The body of the church was absolutely packed solid with the congregation.
The Service started with the first Hymn, which nearly raised the roof. The gentleman on my right proved to be a member of the Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, with a wonderful Bass voice, so being a ringer and used to making a lot of noise, I was very happy to sing as loud as I could! After various prayers, it came to the first lesson, after which King Charles began handing out the Maundy money, which was carried by Yeomen of the Royal Household on enormous silver salvers.
The gentleman on my left had apparently had done a parachute jump in aid of the Parkinson’s Charity, and the King had a short chat with him. I was then handed the Red and White Purses and King Charles shook my hand and said ‘Thank you for your service’
After the South aisle had been completed, the second lesson was read, followed by the King repeating the process in the North aisle, after which there were more prayers, and the Choirs of the Minster and the Chapel Royal sang various anthems, including Zadok the Priest, after prayers and the national Anthem the Service ended with all the Processions departing, with the congregation then leaving via the West Door followed eventually by us.
After the service had finished we waited for the taxi to arrive to take us back to our hotel. The driver, who was Polish, was quite a royalist and said he respected elderly people, so when he discovered why we were there he wanted to shake hands with me. He said his mother was coming from Poland the next day and he could not wait to tell her he had shaken the hand of someone who had shaken the hand of the King! It made his day, and it was a lovely way to finish the visit!
We came home on Saturday, as I had to practice the Hymns for Easter Sunday, and when Wanda, daughter Wendy and I got to Ashill Church at 9am for the service, there was a reception for us waiting to hear all about it. Wanda and I rang the bells for the service and the Revd Adrian Bell announced that all the information would be on the Altar after the service when it was surrounded by the congregation.
My mobile phone is now full of pictures sent by the community all searching the Internet, and newspapers. I ended up on the Royal Website, pictured while the King was talking to the Parachuteist, and on The MailOnline, which showed me actually receiving the purses. All of my three Ringers WhatsApps groups are full of comments and photos, so I now have three ringing practices this week to show all the purses to. I never imagined there would be such loving support with everyone being so pleased for me.