The Prince of Wales has distributed Maundy money to community stalwarts from across the country 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.
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 before the service began: “She’s close by and would want me to extend to you her greetings.”
The Queen is expected to miss another traditional event of the Easter period, the Sunday service attended by the royal family this weekend.
It is a staple in the royal calendar, but the monarch will not be joining 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 World War II, was recognised for her 50 years of fundraising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution 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.”