Buckingham Palace has announced that the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, is to distribute the Royal Maundy in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, on Thursday March 20.
This is the first time the Office for the Royal Maundy is being held outside England and Wales. In fact, only once was it held in Wales, in St David’s Cathedral in 1982.
There will be 164 recipients – 82 men and 82 women, as the Queen is now in her 82nd year. All recipients will be over 70 years of age and have made a significant contribution to Church or community life. Each recipient will be accompanied by a younger companion.
The four main Church Leaders have nominated people from their respective religious traditions from all over Northern Ireland in response to the request that the recipients should be as representative as possible at a service within the context of Anglican worship.
The distribution of alms on Maundy Thursday has its origin in our Lord’s washing the Disciples’ feet. It is an occasion rich in symbolism and ceremony and one of great importance to the Queen. She will be accompanied by the Choir of the Chapel Royal, who along with St Patrick’s Choir, will lead the worship.
Commenting on the forthcoming event, the Dean of Armagh, the Very Reverend Patrick Rooke said: “This is a great honour for us in Armagh. We are excited and certain that this will be a memorable and special service for all those involved.”